KYIV, Ukraine – “Ukraine’s future belongs with Europe. …It is my goal to set Ukraine on the path to becoming a proud member of the European Union,” stated Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in his article published by The Wall Street Journal.
On August 24, Ukraine celebrated the 20th anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union. Through years of weak gross domestic product and mass unemployment, Ukraine has struggled to become a dynamic country with a growing number of SMEs and a national market, finally coming out of the recession. Ukraine boasts an educated labor force and recognized tradition in science and technology. “We (Ukraine – Ed.) serve as a bridge connecting European, Russian and Asian markets,” highlighted the president.
The article also mentioned the state of the reforms, currently implemented in Ukraine, namely anticorruption and pension reform. “I have had to implement tough economic measures to secure International Monetary Fund support that has safeguarded Ukraine’s economic development,” commented the president. The pension reform envisioned the raise of the retirement age for women from 55 to 60 alike most European countries. The new legislation on combatting corruption is expected to “replace the remnants of the Soviet corruption with transparency across all areas-including government administration, business and the judiciary.” The concept provisions liability for acts of corruption regardless of one’s political views or social status.
Another important area, mentioned by the president, was diversifying energy resources. “Our current exploration of shale and offshore reserves will diversify energy supplies and help avert future crises,” commented Viktor Yanukovych.
With reference to Ukraine-EU relations President Yanukovych stressed: “Our strong economic ties with the EU will only increase after we finalize an Association Agreement later this year-a springboard to future EU membership.”
When commenting on further partnership with the West the president spoke of securing international peace: “My decision last year to remove weapons-grade uranium from our nuclear reactors despite resulting economic hardships shows that Ukraine is serious about global security, and that we are a reliable pillar of stability in Europe’s eastern neighborhood.”
With a range of ongoing reforms the president of Ukraine stated, that “in the next 10 years of independence, it is my hope to see Ukraine reunited with its European family.”