Ukraine has still not received a clear answer regarding the date of introducing visa free travel with the EU, which as stated by expert community will be beneficial for both sides.
Kyiv, June 29, 2016. It is EU turn to take a decision concerning visa liberalization as Ukraine has fulfilled the technical requirements for it. This was stated by Alyona Getmanchuk, Director at the Institute of World Policy, at a briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. “It is important for us that the issue of visa free regime does not become a tug of war or tossing a ball from Member States to the European Parliament and vice versa, so that it does not intermingle with other issues: the pace of reforms or, which would be catastrophic, the Minsk process,” says Ms. Getmanchuk.
Hanna Hopko, MP of Ukraine (independent), Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that during a recent visit to Berlin, the Ukrainian delegation had not received a clear answer as to exactly when Ukraine would get visa-free regime. “We realized that we should work more with members of the German parliament – the Bundestag, provide more facts explaining why visa-free regime with Ukraine is beneficial for the EU,” she noted. Ms. Hopko believes that if in September Ukraine does not receive visa liberalization, it will mean the attempts of Europeans to postpone this decision indefinitely.
Vsevolod Chentsov, Director of the EU Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, said that the next stage involves consideration of the issue by the Council of Permanent Representatives. The next is the EU Council. According to Mr. Chentsov, the Ukrainian party hopes to accelerate these processes after Slovak presidency begins on July 1. Two committees work simultaneously in the European Parliament: the committee on justice and home affairs, and on foreign affairs. It is expected that these committees will approve the decision after the summer holidays. Then it has to be approved during the European Parliament session. According to Vsevolod Chentsov, September in this regard is quite a realistic deadline. “We are trying to arrange that all Ukrainian issues will be considered separately from the issues of other countries. We have left them behind in many respects,” added the diplomat.
Iryna Sushko, head of the NGO “Europe without Barriers,” informed that the Ukrainian expert community has appealed to the EU representatives with explanation that Ukraine brings no migration or security threats to the EU. This message will be further conveyed to the European Parliament. “We have to explain and focus on the concerns and doubts of the EU Member States. We should bend every effort to this,” believes Ms. Sushko. She noted that Ukrainian civil society should be ahead of the EU in introducing post-liberalization monitoring.
Serhiy Sydorenko, editor of online newspaper “Ukrainska pravda” section “Europeiska Pravda”, believes that now there is a consensus in Ukrainian society that visa-free regime is an obligation of the EU. He explained that technically this issue does not need a consensus. Only a qualified majority is needed. In case of refusal or delay, the EU will face the loss of trust of the Ukrainian people. According to Mr. Sydorenko, September and October are the realistic dates. “But it can happen only if Ukraine will continue the pace of reforms. If we step back, we will have an even greater delay,” noted the expert.