Ukraine's incorporation into the European Union to be a positive factor
Ukraine's incorporation into the EU would be a more positive factor than NATO expansion, Russia President Vladimir Putin said at a press-conference after the talks with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in the Kremlin.
Vladimir Putin told Spanish journalists that if Ukraine is accepted to the EU, as it desires, Russia will be happy. “Indeed, Russia and Ukraine have close relations in economy and cooperate in the industrial sphere. So, incorporation of the Ukrainian economy into the EU economy is likely to have a positive result for Russia as well,” Vladimir Putin said.
The Russian president emphasized that probable incorporation of Ukraine into the European Union “does not directly concern Russia; while the Russian side has much to say on the issue.” Vladimir Putin added that Russia had always been negative towards NATO expansion, as it would not neutralize present-day menaces. At the same time, Russia always welcomes EU enlargement.
Russia's membership in the European Union is not likely to happen within the nearest ten years that is why Russia has preferred other ways to develop international relations. First of all, Russia is making up a unified economic area with former Soviet republics (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan). Second, Russia is building a common economic area with the EU.
The Russian president believes that the common economic area with the European Union is profitable for both sides, which in its turn will improve Russia's economic ties with Europe. That is why incorporation of new members into the European Union, namely Ukraine, will not spoil these plans but even promote them, Vladimir Putin thinks.
The Spanish prime minister said that the European Union had not yet included admission of new members into the agenda. Rodriguez Zapatero said: “The European Union is now consolidating after enlargement and working on adoption of a new constitution. Today, the EU is following a friendly policy towards its neighbors in the east and in the south.”
Vladimir Putin admitted that EU enlargement causes several problems that require solution. Both sides, Russia and the EU, find ways for solution of the problems, the Russian president added.