Viktor Yushchenko (right) with Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen in Helsinki today (epa)
October 27, 2006 -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is holding talks in Helsinki today with European leaders in a bid to improve his country's prospects of eventual EU membership.
Yushchenko said on the eve of the meeting, after talks with Finnish President Tarja Halonen, that one of the country's strategic goals was to get "a European perspective in our foreign policy."
Halonen said Ukraine still has a long way to go.
The annual EU-Ukraine summit is being held in Finland, which holds the rotating EU Presidency.
Both parties plan to sign agreements on cross-border cooperation to ease visa requirements and the readmission of illegal immigrants.
Governments from the 25 EU member states are considering a proposal from the commission to intensify relations with Ukraine by setting up a free-trade zone; strengthening diplomatic ties; and boosting collaboration in areas such as justice, nuclear safety, and environmental protection.