Wall doesn't fall: Why abolition of visas is not enough to return to Europe?

Author : Anatoliy Martsynovsky

Source :

"European doors are open for Ukraine", "Farewell to Empire," "The testimony of irreversibility of our course towards European integration", "The wall, 350 years separating us from Europe, is falling!" – these are quotes from previous statements of the president and pro-government politicians
22:48, 15 May 2017

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112 Agency

Ukraine has no intrigue with the visa-free regime today.

Petro Poroshenko will take part in the signing ceremony of the decision to grant visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens to travel to the European Union in the premises of the European Parliament on May 17.

"The decision will be published in the Official Journal of the Union and it will enter into force 20 days after. Approximately on June 11, 34 European countries will turn on the green light for the owners of Ukrainian biometric passports - for visa-free short-term trips," press service informed earlier.

Unless otherwise is somewhat intriguing - for example, will we see another "visa-free" video with President Poroshenko? Or what portion of overall victory misleading pathos of the authorities and political "elite" will be poured to the information space under the sign of the visa-free future?

"European doors are open for Ukraine", "Farewell to Empire," "The testimony of the irreversibility of our course towards European integration", "The wall, 350 years separating us from Europe, is falling!" – these are quotes from previous statements of the president and pro-government politicians. Some authors even noted that visa-free is the first step towards EU membership.

The internal reaction to the "visa-free" steps of the EU is important - in fact, manipulations could distort the essence and importance of the process. This was proved by the reaction to past visa-free voting in the European Parliament with an underestimation and negative reaction from many people.

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The reaction of the authorities is usually also ambiguous and somewhat amusing - it means traditional excessive pathos, exaggeration and infantilism. And many "visa-free" videos of the president – is a phenomenon no less interesting than his famous promises regarding unrealistic terms of abolition of EU visas. Over the past year and a half on the visa-free topic Poroshenko spoke to Ukrainians in this exclusive communication format more than on other important events and processes. For example, the war with Russia in the east.

The President and the other officials really giving many high epithets for a future visa-free regime, as well as posts in social networks. Obviously, they see the way to improve the fallen ratings in this visa-free PR.

But praising the allegedly accomplished "return to the European cultural space" actually has little to do with the essence and significance of future visa-free regime.

It is really very important. And we should not attribute too much to it.

Of course, the abolition of visas is positive for the citizens. It will be easier and cheaper for them to travel to the EU. It is expected that this "personal European integration" will obviously generate even more demand for pro-European transformation in the country - but this demand must be accompanied by real reforms and changes in the country, not sabotage of them.

We should look at the neighboring Moldova. It received the visa-free regime in the spring of 2014 - and in autumn 2016 the first elected president of this country became pro-Russian Igor Dodon. This is a direct consequence of corruption and incompetence of "pro-European" political forces - similar to those now in power in our country.

So getting the visa-free regime is not a magic wand that takes any country into Europe - in the sense of it as a space of democratic values and developed economy.

Visa - is only one of the fragments of the wall, has been built over centuries between us and the civilized part of the continent.

Moving to visa-free regime with the implementation of the necessary requirements really destroyed this wall a little. However, the expected in the first half of June abolition of visas will not cancel a terrible state of Ukrainian roads and comprehensive bribery. It can’t bring us cleaner air and safer health products that we buy in stores. It would not improve proceedings. The oligarchs would not stop to pick money from the pockets of Ukrainians, using full control over whole sectors of the Ukrainian economy.

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Moreover – after the receipt of the visa-free regime by Ukraine, disappears the powerful pressure from the EU and the society on the Ukrainian authorities to implement pro-European reforms. However, lack of political will to reform the management of the state will not disappear. So real and not fictitious return to Europe may even slow down.

Even now those institutions established during the visa-free movement to the anti-corruption are under special attention of the government with intentions to easily take them under control. There is an open attack on the anti-corruption NGOs.

So when we will hear about the "irreversible course towards European integration" or "farewell to the empire" on the occasion of activation of the visa regime - is the sweet words of evil. The real return to European civilization space is too far from us.

Much has to change - especially through proper implementation of the Association Agreement and other relevant obligations of the European integration of Ukraine. Those things relating to ties between the state and human, ecology, energy, small and medium business, culture, sports and more. And some people prevent these changes for the sake of personal interests - including those that will write today pretentious winning posts in social networks.

Perhaps they could even release another video message.

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