Read the original text at eurointegration.com.ua.
This week in Strasbourg, the European Parliament is going to vote on the abolition of visa requirements for travelers from Ukraine. This decision would be another important step of Ukraine on its visa-free path.
Actually, there is no big intrigue that it would definitely get some votes. MEPs have repeatedly stated that here is a clear majority. Moreover, in the past few years, the European Parliament adopted resolutions calling on other EU institutions to abolish visas for Ukrainian soon as possible.
But even here we can find some actors who are willing to put sticks in the wheels of the Ukrainians.
For example, less than a month ago, committee of the European Parliament have already discussed Ukrainian visa question. This is a mandatory step before the project is submitted in the plenary hall.
Then Kyiv was a landslide victory: 40 votes for, 4 - against, 1 – abstained. But there were some other five people who came to the committee... in order not to support Ukrainian decision! Who exactly did it against Ukraine?
The answer to this question for a long time remained sensitive information.
The committee did not publish voting record online (LIBE Committee infrequently publishes its protocols). Even our request to the European Parliament did not help to find this information, the press service of the committee promised to find data, but the promise has remained on paper.
LIBE Committee was required to transfer data for consideration in plenary hall to colleagues about its vote, but it did not do it. Last week the European Parliament has published a draft decision on the Ukrainian visa-free regime, and data on voting in committee.
Ukrainian question clearly divided European Parliament into groups. Representatives of the six factions voted for us. The two smallest fractions were against. The right-wing deputies from "Europe of nations and freedom" and "Europe of freedom and direct democracy" tried to block Ukrainian visa-free.
Both groups make no secret loyalty to the Kremlin, so their vote against Ukraine is quite natural.
Another interesting thing is the distribution of votes by country.
The vote was attended by representatives of 22 countries; this is a really good result. Representatives of almost all EU member states wanted to confirm that they do care about the Ukrainian question. Five of the six countries that are left, do not have their deputies among the committee members, or have only one. Sixth country is Greece, neither of its two members of the committee did not come to the committee meeting.
But this meeting was the most popular for ... Swedes and French. From the country six deputies came, and from the second - five. Third one was Germany, which had four candidate.
Moreover, the French have made a special effort to come to the meeting.
Three of French present MPs are neither members nor alternate members of LIBE committee, so they used a special procedural rule, agreed with other deputies that the latter transferred their personal right to vote.
Thus, all three "guests of the committee" voted for the preservation of the visa regime for Ukraine, making France the only country where the number of deputies opponents 'visa-free' was higher than the number of supporters.
Fourth vote "against" was given by the representative of Italy.
Italian Lorenzo Fontana is a member of the pro-Russian party Lega Nord, which is fighting for the secession of the northern regions of Italy.
Two of the French (Sylvie Goddyn and Mylen Troshinski) are members of Marine Le Pen’s party.
Another their compatriot became a Republican ... Arnaud Denyan, a former French diplomat and a representative group of European People's Party, which is usually considered a friend of Ukraine in Europe.
This story illustrates the idea that the unity of the French (by the way, just - Italian) "populists" from all over Europe eventually ends once on the way there 's interests - financial, business or political.
And we are talking not only about the team of Putin’s presidential candidate Francois Fillon. Instead, Denyan now belongs to the internal party opposition of Fillon. And in the primaries, he campaigned for a candidate, Alain Juppe, who is considered "the most pro" among Republicans. Apparently, support for Ukraine here is very conditional.
Against this background especially valuable is that two French duputies - representatives of the Green and Liberal Democrats - still come to the meetings and supported the visa-free regime.
Of course, one vote is not grounds for distant findings.
But it happened that "negative heroes" of Ukrainian visa liberalization are just the French. And it is despite the fact that Ukrainians do not carry any migration threat for France.
This is hardly accidental.