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Austrian ex-chancellor: Europe shouldn't judge Ukraine by Tymoshenko case

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Sep. 21, 2012 09:29
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Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko
Photo by (AFP)

VIENNA – Former Chancellor of Austria Alfred Gusenbauer has said that the European Union should not look at Ukraine only in the light of the situation with former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

While speaking at a conference entitled "Ukraine on the Way Towards European Integration" in Vienna on September 20, he said that the idea that Ukraine won't see progress in relations with the EU until the situation with Tymoshenko changes "is not a demonstration of a strategic way of thinking."

"Actually, such an approach does not match the interests of the government and the opposition," Gusenbauer said.

According to him, Ukraine should improve the situation in many spheres, and the EU should assist the country in the process of reform implementation.

In turn, former Italian Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission Romano Prodi said that he regrets that Ukraine is still not in the EU.

According to him, Ukraine could have joined the EU simultaneously with Bulgaria and Romania.

"However, at that time it was impossible due to certain political issues. And now we can see a problem due to the fact that the EU is tired of expansion," he said.

Prodi added that Ukraine's integration into the EU is an issue for the long term.

"We won't have the support of the EU member states in the near future," he said.

The politician said that Ukraine should focus on strengthening its relations with the EU and become a real bridge between the EU and Russia in the process of growing closer to the EU.

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