Estonian PM: Visa talks between Ukraine, EU must continue

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Visa facilitation talks between the European Union and Ukraine, a strategic partner of the EU, must continue, Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip said at a meeting with the Ukrainian head of state, Viktor Yanukovych, in Kiev on Friday.

The relations between the EU and Ukraine came under discussion in the meeting, Ansip told BNS. "I am certainly interested in their further development. Ukraine is a strategic partner for the EU," the prime minister said. "We are interested in more Ukrainians being able to freely visit member states of the EU. We are interested in the continuation of the visa talks."

Estonian-Ukrainian relations also were discussed in the meeting. "Estonian-Ukrainian economic relations have developed quite well. Trade volumes have grown considerably since 2009," Ansip said. "I'm pleased to note that there is more predictability in the Ukrainian investment environment of late than a few years earlier. That is definitely a good tendency, but there is still lots of room for development in our relations."

Ansip's meeting with the Ukrainian president lasted three hours instead of the planned half-hour, the government's media adviser Liina Kersna told BNS. The prime minister met on Friday also with the Ukrainian minister for revenues and taxes, Alexander Klimenko.

Ansip is accompanied in Ukraine by the real estate businessman Hillar Teder, head of the industrial group BLRT Fjodor Berman, chairman of the supervisory board of the casino operator Olympic Entertainment Group Armin Karu and CEO of the oil shale processor Viru Keemia Grupp Priit Rohumaa.

Karu told BNS that at Friday's official meeting with the director of the Ukrainian Justice Ministry's legal department, German Galushchenko, an agreement was concluded whereby a separate commission will be set up soon to find a solution to Olympic Entertainment Group's claim for damages.

Olympic Entertainment Group was forced to wind up its operations in Ukraine after the adoption in 2009 of a law that banned the casino business. Basing on the agreement on the mutual protection of investments signed between the Estonian and Ukrainian governments, the group filed a claim for damages in the amount of 38.5 million euros in the same year.

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