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Ukraine’s highway to visa-free regime with EU

Author : Andriy Lyubka

18:55, 28 November 2016
Ukraine’s highway to visa-free regime with EU

Author : Andriy Lyubka

On its way to visa liberalization with the European Union, Ukraine has started numerous reforms

18:55, 28 November 2016

Read the original text at radiosvoboda.org.

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Related: Rikard Jozwiak exclusively for 112.international on visa liberalization

When considering the process of visa liberalization between the EU and Ukraine, we should keep in mind at least two components. First and most important, of course, is the goal of complete abolition of visas for citizens of Ukraine. But equally important, is the fulfillment of European demands. The process of visa liberalization from a strategic point of view would much give for Ukrainian state.

Related: Juncker: Ukraine could get visa free regime by late 2016

"Visa-free" in exchange for reforms

It is not a secret that without the pressure of the United States, European Union and international financial institutions, our politicians would have embodied reforms more slowly. Due to the pressure that can be considered even as a blackmail, Ukraine has made important reforms - created anti-corruption agencies, made the process of tender procedures more transparent, and introduced electronic declaration for civil servants.

Related: Spain supports immediate granting of visa-free regime for Ukrainians, - Prime Minister Rajoy

You might say, so what. We have not received visa-free regime, anti-corruption agencies are sluggish and suffer from "blindness" and the electronic declaration disoriented society simply because none of corrupt officials and did not get behind bars.

We should understand that the EU abolishes visa not because it does not want to fulfill its obligations, and that the union had faced the threat of disintegration or even collapse.

Anti-corruption agencies are really sluggish, but at least they exist. A similar situation was in Romania - their anti-corruption bureau existed, but arrested politicians from the third league; and then the situation and the political situation changed.

Related: Croatia supports EU-Ukraine visa-free regime, - PM

Electronic declaration did not give concrete results but created a basis for future investigations. Wealth, expensive watches, fleets - it is just an excuse for the disturbance, and when the police works better, they would become evidence in criminal cases.

Corrupted officials have visas

The promised date of cancellation of the visa regime has been postponed so many times that it naturally caused disappointment in Ukrainian. The biggest fault lies here on the Ukrainian authorities who wrongly had promised visa liberalization.

Related: Minsk agreement, visa-free regime and fight against corruption will be discussed at Ukraine-EU summit

Dangerous symptom is the fact that there are Ukrainian, who believe that the abolition of visas is unnecessary. These "experts" and "patriots" say that the most productive Ukrainians would just leave. This is not true. For example, it did not happened in Moldova. Those who wanted to leave, have left long ago.

After all, it is not surprising that people in the XXI century want to go live / study / work abroad. Many Americans go to Europe, Europeans – to the US, the Germans go to the UK, and the British - to the Netherlands. After such emigration - it is also a way to gain new experience, see the world, to change the environment to make start-up capital. So, the task of Ukraine is not to create obstacles to its citizens to travel, and vice versa - to reform the economy and encourage workers to return, so to attract private investment. To Ukrainian, who spent several years abroad, saved money brought to Ukraine - and built a house here, opened his own business and so on.

 

Related: EU Ambassadors give "green light" for talks on visa liberalization

This is not saying that the visa-free regime is also a question of dignity. Why our people cannot freely travel to Europe, visit a beautiful cities, watch magnificent collection of the Louvre museum, Pinacoteca, Uffizi? After all, the corruption officials have visas, and often also a diplomatic passport as well. Instead, a simple Ukrainian is facing numerous problems in obtaining visas.

Related: France, Germany and Belgium slow down visa-free regime for Ukrainians, - source

I will tell you an example from my own experience: last year I have make a gift for my mom a guided tour Europe. Although travel agency proposed to opened visa, it was a daunting task. My mother had modest earnings, and travel agent said that her income might be an impediment for getting visa. Like, middle-aged woman with pre-adult children is a group of risk; these are often traveling illegally and are working.

Related: Visa liberalization for Ukraine is on EU ambassadors’ meeting agenda

As you can see, if you are simple and honest man, it would be difficult to get visa; if you are a judge and drive a Ferrari, your family will always get a long-term visa. This is another proof that the visa system is absurd in content.

Ukraine should go this multiannual visa road, because the abolition of visas is not the main point; the point is the reform - strategic, structural - of the country.

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