Something that has long sought Turkey, has reached Ukraine. Ukrainians with biometric passports will be able to travel without visas to the Algarve, in Maastricht, Berlin or Zurich. On Wednesday, the European Union and Ukraine signed the Strasbourg agreement, according to which Ukrainians may travel visa free to the EU and the Schengen agreement.
When the European Parliament by a majority of votes a few weeks ago endorsed this decision, President Petro Poroshenko spoke of a “historic vote” and “the deserved allocation of Ukrainians because of their belief in the European idea”. Even in Ukraine itself, the final implementation of this project remained practically unnoticed in the General heat of the Eurovision song contest, the blazing gunfights, and declared to social networks and search engines.
Without a work permit
For almost ten years, Brussels and Kiev held talks on visa liberalization. But when the country fulfilled the conditions, it began to hold back — because the introduction of easing the visa regime during the migration crisis has shown the EU is not a particularly good time.
Now Kiev’s wish fulfilled. All Ukrainians with the entry into force of the agreement, presumably on June 11 can enter the EU and Schengen countries Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland for up to 90 days. A condition for visa-free entry is the availability of biometric passports and confirmed intention to return. From Moscow was followed by sarcastic remarks. “This so-called visa-free regime — a carrot on a string,” — said Deputy foreign Minister Alexei Meshkov. “It has nothing to do with work.” After the annexation of Crimea and support for Pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine, Russia was involved in the fact that Ukraine’s rapprochement with the EU has been very complicated.
“The EU is in any case provided for the emergency brake”
It is a small step for the EU, but large for Ukraine. Small, because the EU because of the wave of refugees from Syria and Africa acts as distrustful of the insurance concern: if the deal falls through, it will be cancelled. For such limited risk EU hesitated for a long time obscene.
Despite the visa-free regime has been significant progress for Ukraine. The abolition of the humiliating procedure of visa will allow her to demonstrate to its own population that it is part of Europe. It means a lot to weary of the ongoing conflict in the country that pays a high price for their political dreams of Europe.
For many Ukrainians it is primarily a symbolic achievement. Why the need for a visa-free regime, if almost nobody can afford a trip abroad? The euphoria that gripped the President, significantly more than any other in the country. Besides war, the economy paralyzed the influence of powerful oligarchs, corruption and easy to reform. Kiev needs to change, otherwise very few will be able to benefit from the political trophy. But the EU needs to help.
Rapprochement with the East
Together with the visa liberalization, the EU continues the way to strengthen the 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.
A kind of “emergency brake” of the EU in any case also prepared. In the case of abuse of visa-free travel Brussels may withdraw it. However, Kiev is betting on further rapprochement. During amigasa weeks can pass negotiations between Ukraine and the Netherlands on the Association agreement. If the Hague ratifies a Treaty, the Treaty will go into force, it will be a crucial step for Kiev in difficult times.