ESI Senior Analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer was invited to speak at the event "Visa Liberalisation for Ukraine: Options and Implications" on 8 July 2016 at the premises of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin.
She briefed the participants on the concept of EU visa liberalisation processes, which require countries to fulfil a set of conditions from the fields of border control, migration management, human rights, the fight against corruption and organised crime, and passport security. In recent years Ukraine has met all the conditions, and the European Commission proposed on 20 April 2016 to lift the visa requirement. This proposal now needs to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. Alexandra addressed the reasons why these decisions have been postponed to the autumn, but said that the EU must now keep its promise and safeguard its credibility in Ukraine. She recommended that the Ukrainian government undertake a charm offensive, briefing EU interior and foreign ministers on what it has achieved during the process.
The reasons for the delay include pending amendments of the EU's suspension mechanism, which will allow EU member states to suspend visa-free travel in a fast-track procedure if results in an increase of irregular migration or unfounded asylum claims; the refugee crisis that the EU is faced with; and the fact that the EU also has to take decisions on visa-free travel for Georgia, Kosovo and Turkey.
Other speakers at the event were Iryna Sushko, Director of the Ukrainian NGO Europe without Barriers, and Anastasia Krasnosilska from the Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Action Centre. The moderator was Wilfried Jilge from DGAP. The event was organised by DGAP, the International Renaissance Foundation in Ukraine, Europe without Barriers and the Ukrainian NGO Reanimation Package of Reforms.
- ESI website on visa liberalisation: Europe's Border Revolution and the Schengen White List Project
- ESI website on the refugee crisis