Summit EU-Ukraine: Visa Liberalization Progresses
Kyiv, December 20, 2011. Both the EU and Ukraine leaders welcomed the progress in implementing the visa liberalization Action Plan, as reported in the Joint Statement made by the parties of the 15th EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv on December 19. The negotiations on simplification of the visa facilitation procedure had been successfully finalized, according to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The representatives of the EU and Ukraine reaffirmed their shared commitment towards visa liberalization between Ukraine and the bloc of 27 countries. It was also noted in the Joint Statement of the summit, that the visa free regime could be introduced after creating the conditions provisioned by the Action Plan, specifically, providing well managed and safe environment for people’s movement. As of today, the parties had already amended the Agreement on visa facilitation as to further simplify issuing visas to Ukrainian citizens.
The European Union was eager to support Ukraine in implementing the Action Plan, however, Ukraine had to fulfill all the respective requirements, according to the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso.
Implementation of the visa free regime was among Ukraine’s priorities, according to Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovych. “Introduction of the visa free regime with the EU remains our strategic goal. At this stage the key task is to ensure the implementation of the visa liberalization Action Plan for Ukraine,” commented the President of Ukraine. Broadening the human contacts and removing barriers to free communication was integral for further rapprochement between Ukraine and the EU, he added.
Ukraine was granted the visa liberalization Action Plan at the previous Ukraine-EU summit held on November 22, 2010. The Action Plan provisioned two main stages, namely, legislative work and the following implementation of the legal provisions. At the recent Eastern Partnership summit in Warsaw, the European Union agreed to abolish the “long-term perspective” formula for liberalization of the visa regime for Ukrainian citizens. Notably, Ukraine seeks concrete conditions that would stipulate cancellation of the visa regime.
The advocacy of human dialogue promotion between Ukraine and the EU began in 2006 with the inception of the visa liberalization dialogue. The Visa Liberalization Action Plan for Ukraine toward the establishment of a visa-free regime for short-stay travel was adopted in late 2010.