Schroeder cool on EU membership for Ukraine

27th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 January 2005, BERLIN - While calling for European Union membership talks with Croatia, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder appears cool to the prospects of Ukraine joining the EU. "At present it's about a partnership (for Ukraine) - not accession," said Schroeder at a meeting with the German Parliament's European Affairs Committee. Ukraine's newly elected President Viktor Yushchenko, who is this week visiting the European Union (EU) in Strasbourg and Brussels, has called for his country to be given a prospect

27 January 2005

BERLIN - While calling for European Union membership talks with Croatia, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder appears cool to the prospects of Ukraine joining the EU.

"At present it's about a partnership (for Ukraine) - not accession," said Schroeder at a meeting with the German Parliament's European Affairs Committee.

Ukraine's newly elected President Viktor Yushchenko, who is this week visiting the European Union (EU) in Strasbourg and Brussels, has called for his country to be given a prospect of membership.

Schroeder was also wary about loosening visa requirements for Ukrainians visiting Germany.

The German government only last year decided to tighten visa rules for Ukraine and other east European states after many tourists who came as tourists stayed on to work illegally.

Schroeder's government now faces a potentially damaging parliamentary probe over its lax visa policy from 2001 to 2004.

At the same time, Schroeder called for opening EU membership talks with Croatia by June.

"Accession talks with Croatia ... should begin if possible in the first half of this year," said Schroeder in remarks to the committee.

Croatia is expected to join the EU possibly with Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 or, as is more likely, shortly thereafter.  

DPA

Subject: German news

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