Ukrainian President unveils plans for EU membership

 
Guy Bentley
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Ukraine plans to present an application for EU membership in six years time (Source: Getty)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is to outline plans for his country to apply for EU membership in six years time.

Poroshenko said Ukraine would undertake a series of economic and social reforms to meet the standards required of EU members.

"It (the strategy) provides for 60 separate reforms and special programmes, which will prepare Ukraine for applying for membership in the European Union in six years time," he said.

The news will not be welcomed in the Kremlin that as recently as yesterday threatened to cut Ukraine's access to Russian markets if it went ahead with an EU trade agreement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in a letter to President Poroshenko:

We still believe only systemic adjustments of the Association Agreement, which take into account the full range of risks to Russian-Ukranian economic ties and to the whole Russian economy, will allow to retain existing trade and economic cooperation between the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

While tensions between Russia and Ukraine remain high, they have eased somewhat since Kiev agreed a ceasefire with pro-Russian separatists. The EU has said there are no plans to offer Ukraine membership.

However, there appears to be widespread support among the people of Europe for Ukraine joining the union of nations. According to a poll for the German Marshall Fund, 52 per cent of Europeans favour Ukrainian membership of the EU, with two-thirds supporting tougher sanctions against Russia.

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