Ukraine Applying for EU Membership ‘in 6 Years Time’

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said, he would present a broad plan of social and economic reforms on Thursday which would allow the former Soviet republic to apply for membership of the European Union in six years.

Ukraine’s parliament ratified a landmark agreement on closer ties with the EU on Sept. 16, though implementation of the trade part of the accord has been delayed until January 2016 to appease Russia, which says the pact will hurt its markets.

Poroshenko, speaking to Ukrainian judges, also said that for the first time in many months no deaths or wounded had been reported in the past 24 hours in a conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, indicating that a ceasefire struck on Sept. 5 “has finally begun working”.

“I will present my vision of Ukraine’s development, our strategy for the period up to 2020,” Poroshenko said, referring to a news conference set for later on Thursday.

“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.

Ukrainian and foreign analysts say Kiev needs to carry out deep-rooted and effective political and economic reforms to overcome years of inefficient and corrupt governance to make the country eligible for possible EU membership.