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Key Economic Data 
 
  2003 2002 2001 Ranking(2003)
GDP
Millions of US $ 49,537 41,380 37,600 55
         
GNI per capita
 US $ 970 770 720 137
Ranking is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)

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Update No: 359 - (24/11/10)

EU - Ukraine summit
At a European Union-Ukraine summit on November 22nd, EU leaders called on Ukraine to give renewed impetus to reform efforts concerning the consolidation of human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law. They urged Ukraine to make further progress in improving the business and investment climate particularly by tackling corruption and removing red-tape.

They welcomed reforms in the macro-economic sphere, particularly in the light of Ukraine’s Standby Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They looked forward to Ukraine’s imminent accession to the Energy Community. In the energy sector they reviewed progress in the implementation of the memorandum of understanding on energy co-operation as well as the modernisation of Ukraine’s gas transit system.

The leaders also discussed the opportunities provided by the Eastern Partnership to promote political association and economic integration between the EU and countries of the Eastern Partnership, a European Commission (EC) statement said.

The 14th EU-Ukraine Summit was hosted by European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. The Commission was represented by no less a person than EC President José Manuel Barroso.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton accompanied both presidents. Barroso was also accompanied by the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, and Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht.

The Ukrainian side was represented by President Viktor Yanukovych accompanied by foreign minister Konstantyn Gryshenko. "This is our first summit since President Yanukovych was elected earlier this year but overall this is my fourth meeting with the president in one year," Van Rompuy said.

"Reform in Ukraine and the EU-Ukraine bilateral relationship are at the top of the agenda. We will welcome the positive steps taken by Ukraine particularly in the economic and energy sphere. We look to Ukraine’s leadership to increase the reform momentum in these areas and as regards respect for human rights, the rule of law and democratic principles," Van Rompuy said.

Barroso said: "Ukraine is a key partner for the EU and an important regional player. The ambitious agenda of this summit reflects our dynamic relationship.

"I am pleased that we are able to announce an Action Plan towards the establishment of a visa free-regime for Ukraine and that a Protocol will be signed which gives Ukraine access to EU programmes. These are two concrete examples of the EU's continued engagement with Ukraine. We also take stock of the progress in the negotiations on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, which we want to complete as soon as possible. We stress the need to deepen the process of reform, in particular in the area of rule of law and the business and investment climate," Barroso said.

Putin is positive
Ukraine has to think eastwards as well as westwards. Eastward of course foremost lies Russia. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says trade ties with Ukraine have improved dramatically since Kremlin-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych came to power.

Putin made his remarks in Kiev, where he met Ukrainian leaders for talks on natural-gas supplies to Ukraine. Putin said trade turnover between Russia and Ukraine rose nearly 80 percent this year because of improving global conditions, but also because ties were "normalized."

About 80 percent of Russian gas exports to the European Union transit Ukraine, and Russia has long said it wants a stake in Ukraine's pipeline system.

Ukraine, which depends on Russian gas imports, wants Russia to cut prices.

During his last visit in April, Putin proposed a merger between Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's state-owned Naftogaz. Ukraine has ruled out a merger, but Ukrainian officials have said a joint venture between the two countries is a possibility if it buys cheaper gas.

Russia, Ukraine start evaluation of energy assets: Gazprom
Putin's tip is being taken up. Russian and Ukrainian energy firms have begun evaluating assets that will make up the backbone of a future joint venture, the first possible step towards a full merger, Gazprom said on Wednesday.

"The sides agreed to begin the evaluation of the assets which can be included in the joint venture," Gazprom said following talks in Moscow between Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller and Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yury Boiko.

In April, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin caught Ukraine's leaders off guard by proposing a merger between Gazprom, the world's largest gas firm, and Ukraine's gas company Naftogaz.

Despite rapidly warming ties, Ukraine has so far managed to hold the line, insisting that any merger with Gazprom should be implemented on equal terms.

Ukrainian officials have however said that a joint venture between the two energy companies is a possibility. Gazprom has proposed a 50-50 joint venture with Naftogaz, calling it a possible first step toward the merger of the two companies.

"The creation of a joint venture is a necessary and absolutely logical step in the business of developing cooperation between the companies," Gazprom head Miller said in a statement.

Russia has long said it wants a stake in Ukraine's prized Soviet-era pipeline network while Ukraine wants a joint Russian-EU consortium to be set up to help modernise the system.

In a possible jab at the European Union, Miller said the future bilateral joint venture would be more efficient that the proposed consortium. "Unlike the multilateral consortium, about which ineffective talks have gone on for many years, our joint venture will become a real instrument of conducting business," Miller said.

Ukraine was quick to stress that the joint venture with Russia would not undercut its national interests. "All the projects, which we begin today, are useful for our state, they all, as per instructions from our president, are conducted only on a parity basis, only taking into account our national interests," Boiko was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian fuel and energy ministry.

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