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EU closer to giving Ukraine market status & visa facilitation

By David Ferguson in Brussels

"The EU has been keeping its commitments. We hope we will be able to respond to Ukraine's economic reforms by announcing Market Economy Status at the 1 December EU-Ukraine Summit. We know how important this is to Ukraine, so we have responded quickly to their steps towards this," said External Relations European Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner.

"The Summit will also be the occasion for us to endorse a Memorandum of Understanding on energy cooperation, which the Commission has been working on throughout this year," added Ferrero-Waldner. The EU Commissioner was speaking today to the Conference of Foreign Affairs Committee Chairpersons of EU Member and Candidate states in London.

"In response to the peaceful resolution to Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" last year we set out ten priority actions to support and facilitate Ukraine's reforms. Progress in implementing those actions has been guided by the pace of Ukraine's reforms, and the conduct of next year's parliamentary elections will also be key,"

The EU Commissioner was also confident that other agreements with Ukraine will follow. "We will also sign a readmission agreement with Ukraine, which is being negotiated in parallel with discussions on visa facilitation. I anticipate Member States will approve our proposal for a negotiating mandate on visa facilitation at the Council meeting next week," said Ferrero-Waldner.

"We want businessmen, officials, students and tourists from our neighbours to travel to the EU more easily. This will send an important signal that we are not a Fortress Europe, we simply seek to manage migration."

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