BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Ukraine could join the EU's list of privileged or "strategic" partners alongside Egypt, Israel, Indonesia, Pakistan, and South Korea, EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said, the EUobserver reports.
Ashton's list has however no official status and was put forward as part of "a general brainstorming session on how to make the EU more effective on the world stage," the paper said.
The term "strategic partner" is ill-defined in EU usage and can be taken to mean an alternative to fully-fledged EU membership, it added.
The set of existing strategic partners lists Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the U.S.
Ukraine's inclusion on the list could be taken as a signal that EU accession is not an option, while the omission of Turkey could be good news for its EU bid, the EUobserver said.