Ukraine: a historic agreement made without any noise

Even in Ukraine, the news remained almost unnoticed amid the bustling Eurovision song contest, renewed fighting and declared a blockade of Russian social networks and search engines: a little more country closer to the EU. On Wednesday, the EU and Ukraine was signed in Strasbourg the document providing for visa-free entry and the EU for Ukrainians. A few weeks ago, when the European Parliament by a majority of voters endorsed the agreement, President Petro Poroshenko spoke of a “historic vote” and “the deserved promotion of the Ukrainians because of their belief in the European idea”.

Moscow reacted sarcastically to the convergence: it stressed that the work of the Ukrainians still not allowed

For almost ten years, Brussels and Kiev held talks on visa liberalization. But when the country fulfilled the conditions, she was off with a promise: the simplification of the visa regime at the height of the migration crisis has shown the EU is not particularly appropriate. Now Kiev’s wish fulfilled. With the entry into force of the agreement — presumably June 11 — all Ukrainians will be allowed visa-free entry for a period of 90 days in EU countries, except UK and Ireland. But they can enter countries of the Schengen agreement, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland that are not part of the EU. Condition of visa-free entry is the availability of biometric passports, health insurance and confirmed the intention to return. To work in the EU Ukrainians who entered without a visa, is not permitted.

In this regard, from Moscow was followed by sarcastic comments. “This so-called visa — free regime- a carrot on a string, — said the Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs Alexei Meshkov. — It has nothing to do with work.” By the way, annexing the Crimea and supporting Pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Russia largely contributed to the fact that as much as possible to complicate to Ukraine’s rapprochement with the EU.

Meanwhile, the EU agreed on the visa liberalization, the path continues to strengthen exchange with the countries of the former USSR. Three years ago entered into force on visa-free regime with Moldova, since the end of March this year and Georgian citizens can travel visa free to the EU for a period of three months.

“We Germans know from our own experience how important freedom of movement”, — stated in the Ministry of foreign Affairs in Berlin. “It is an important element of rapprochement to which we aspire with the countries of the Eastern partnership. With Georgia and Ukraine in recent years, we are very actively working on it”.

Some sort of emergency brake on EU just in case I also prepared. In the case of abuse of visa-free travel Brussels may withdraw it. However, Kiev is betting on further rapprochement. In the coming weeks, you can complete the negotiations between Ukraine and the Netherlands on the Association agreement. If the Hague ratifies a Treaty, the Treaty will go into force, and it will be a crucial step for Kiev in difficult times.