Henry Kirby in London -
A recent study by international polling company TNS has shown that one in four Ukrainians believe that a proposed visa-free agreement with the European Union will never happen.
As the bne:Chart shows, 43% of respondents said they believe the travel agreement will be enacted in the next five years, while 28% believe it will take even longer than that. Overall, three quarters of those surveyed believe that, sooner or later, a visa-free regime will be introduced.
Visa-free travel to the EU has been a priority for Ukrainians since efforts to join the EU began, with easy travel to and from the EU being seen as a stepping stone to eventual full membership. This year’s Riga Summit reaffirmed this intention, but the summit’s resultant declaration did little to convince Ukrainian’s that it is high on the EU’s agenda.
The lack of optimism by some respondents may be down to their belief that Ukraine is not enacting the reforms that are necessary for the EU to agree on a free travel regime.
When asked if they agree with the statement that Ukraine is implementing the appropriate reforms, 62% of respondents disagreed to some degree, with 31% strongly disagreeing. Only 12% agreed with the statement, of which only a quarter of those (3%) strongly agreed.
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