European MPs: We expect visa free regime with Ukraine in 2015

European MPs: We expect visa free regime with Ukraine in 2015
May 16, 2015.

Kyiv, May 16, 2015. The Eastern Partnership summit, which is scheduled to take place in Riga on May 21-22, should become a platform to express greater solidarity of the EU states with Ukraine. European MPs, Petras Auštrevičius and Mark Demesmaeker, gave a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center, commenting on the issue: “We expect a visa free regime with Ukraine in 2015.”

European MPs emphasized that Ukraine has to fulfill a number of conditions in order to get a visa free regime, namely introduce of biometric passports and an integrated information system to know who crossed the state border, as well as adopt agreements to counter international organized crime.

Moreover, Ukraine needs to restore control over the state border. “We might accept some administrative lines as a point of reality, but nothing more. We have signed documents with one Ukraine only,” Mr. Auštrevičius said.

Petras Auštrevičius cited EU-Moldova history of visa liberalization as an example: “The EU made an agreement with one Moldova. The people in Transnistria were given a possibility to travel to the EU by getting Moldova passports: 70,000 people did this. Ukraine has resources, knowledge and willingness to repeat their success.”

Both parliamentarians stressed the importance of delivering information about the ongoing reforms to the public. “Ukrainian institutions have to learn how to bring information to the people and explain their actions. Reforms can only proceed hand in hand with the domestic support,” Mr. Auštrevičius said.

Mark Demesmaeker noted that the European Union has to show greater solidarity with Ukraine. The test for this comes next June when the issue of extending economic sanctions against Russia will be discussed. “I am sure that sanctions will be extended. In my personal opinion, we should tighten them. As long as Crimea is annexed and Russia continues to support pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, the dialogue could be conditional only. Together the EU and Ukraine are much stronger,” Mr. Demesmaeker concluded.

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