Ukraine's long path to the Association Agreement must be rewarded

Author : Anton Pechenkin

Respondent : Andrej Plenković

Source : 112 Ukraine

Andrej Plenković, Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committe on refugees and EU-Ukraine visa liberalization
11:38, 11 November 2015


112 International continues presentiong opinions of different outstanding international experts on issues concerning Ukraine, its development, relations, and image. Today, our vis-a-vis is MEP Andrej Plenković, Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committe.

How would you assess the progress made by Ukraine for reaching the visa-free regime with the Schengen states? What are the main barriers on that way?

We, the group of members of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Ukraine and the informal group of friends of Ukraine, came here to support the adoption of legislation needed for accomplishing the plan for visa liberalization and joining the free-trade zone with the EU. Ukraine has made a long path to the Association Agreement, and these efforts must be rewarded. If these measures are adopted and if this is well-done in terms of substance, I’m sure that Ukraine will have a very strong case in the evaluation process by the Commission and finally for the decision of the Council. We in the European Parliament have many times strongly lobbied and urged the member states to adopt this decision, which is beneficial to Ukraine´s citizens.

The next questions will be about the refugees’ crisis in Croatia and Europe. We all know that there is really hard situation in your country. So, on your opinion, what perspectives are present and what decisions are to be made in this field?

First of all, for refugees’ and migration crisis the only solution must be a common European solution. The countries, which are on the first line – like Greece, Italy, Malta, Spain – cannot sustain the whole burden alone. That is why the idea is to have this relocation of refugees in an equitable and proportional manner among all the EU member states. Croatia is the transit country, in one month and a half more than 350,000 people passed, coming from Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, and Serbia. Through Croatia, these people try to get to Slovenia or Hungary and from there to Austria or Germany.

It is, of course, a moment, where all of us should show respect for human dignity, our empathy, and our solidarity. Also, we have to take into account the fact that legal norms should be respected - national norms, EU norms, as well as international law. Also the security consideration should be taken into account. We have seen the problems of terrorism. This is one of the key elements of EU´s agenda. The solution may be only comprehensive, the problem may be solved only if we address the root causes: the war in Syria, instability on Middle East, financial and economic situation, climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. Everybody is looking for a better life, but it needs to be structurally organized. All the efforts of the EU are aimed operationally, financially, legally to address the problem at its roots.

Yes, but some countries and politicians, for example Hungary and Orban, are ruining this European unity what are you speaking about. What steps are to be done with such positions?

As I said, there is a decision making process in the European Union, negotiations are in process, not all the countries were in favor of relocation of refugees. I think that the general feeling of solidarity in the joint action is there. And for the leadership, that Chancellor Merkel has shown, this exercise is politically important and humanly necessary.

Related: Reforms in Ukraine mostly are just some cosmetic changes

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