Ukraine anticipates visa-regime with EU in 2016, says foreign minister

By bne IntelliNews May 19, 2015

Ukraine can receive a visa-free regime with the European Union (EU) in 2016 if it fully implements a corresponding action plan, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said after talks with European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos in Brussels on May 18, according to news wires.

"Our reforms are positively evaluated," Klimkin said, as quoted by Ukrinform. "The most important thing is that the Commission is sure that we will be able to complete all the reforms this year and, subsequently, to get the report of the European Commission on the full-fledged completion of the second phase of reforms [to implement the action plan on visa liberalization]. This will open the way to a visa-free regime for Ukraine."

Ukraine's ambassador to the EU Konstantin Eliseev also said on May 18 that Ukraine has met 10 out of 15 criteria for attaining a visa-free regime. Eliseev said that four more criteria regarding fighting organised crime, human trafficking, protecting national minorities and providing asylum, have been partially implemented, and one criterion - combating corruption - was assessed as 'partially fulfilled' because the creation of an anti-corruption office has not yet been completed, Eliseev told the daily Segodnya.ua.

Ukraine is now pushing for the EU to include a time-frame for Ukraine to gain a visa-free regime to be included in the final document of the upcoming summit of the EU's Eastern Partnership in Riga May 21-22.

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