With the advent of the first visit to Brussels by Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, the European Commission has said it will launch talks early next year for a broader cooperation agreement with the EU’s eastern neighbour-state. Yanukovich was appointed in August after four months of political deadlock. He is friendlier towards Russia than previous governments led by allies of President Viktor Yushchenko – who rose to power with the help of the Orange Revolution. But Yanukovitch says Ukraine can strike trade deals with both Brussels and Moscow. Yanukovich is also to meet NATO officials in Brussels to discuss cooperation and future moves in Yushchenko’s long-stated desire to seek membership despite Russian objections and negative public opinion at home. European officials have restated longstanding EU policy that Ukrainian membership of the bloc will not be considered for quite some time. They cited problems with corruption and judicial and economic reforms.