Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Eu to Open Visa-Free Talks with Kiev

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/ukraine : Eu to Open Visa-Free Talks with Kiev

Article excerpt

The EU-Ukraine dialogue on a visa-free regime is likely to be formally launched on 29 October, a top Ukrainian diplomat has said. Speaking to a group of journalist at a working lunch, on 22 October, Kostyantyn Yeliseyev, Ukraine's deputy minister for foreign affairs and the president's special representative for Georgia, expressed hope that the first stage of the forthcoming negotiations would result in an agreement on a set of concrete measures and conditions Kiev would need to fulfil for the current visa system to be scrapped. "Our main objective for these talks is to prepare a kind of a road map, a guide, which would precisely define steps we have to take to achieve a visa-free agreement with the EU," Yeliseyev said. "We do not want to carry out negotiations just for the sake of dialogue. Instead, we want to concentrate on practical measures, including security issues," he added.

At the EU-Ukraine summit, on 9 September in Paris, the EU made a political decision to open a dialogue with Kiev on the introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukraine as a "long-term goal". Following the entry into force of the EU-Ukraine visa facilitation agreement, on 1 January, the rules and procedures, which the Ukrainian citizens are subject to, were shortened and simplified. Kiev, however, complains that the agreement has not been appropriately implemented by all member states. Referring to this problem, Yeliseyev pointed to a high rate of application refusals for long-term stay visas. "Only every seventh Ukrainian citizen obtains a one-year visa," he said. …

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