During the briefing "Last steps of Ukraine on the way to visa free regime with the EU: what has to be done by the Ukrainian authority?”, supported by European program initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation, Iryna Sushko, head of the civic organization “Europe without Barriers” presented the analysis of the progress that has been done by Ukraine on the way to visa-free regime with the EU.
During the briefing “Last steps of Ukraine on the way to visa free regime with the EU: what has to be done by the Ukrainian authority?”, supported by European program initiative of the International Renaissance Foundation, Iryna Sushko, head of the civic organization “Europe without Barriers” presented the analysis of the progress that has been done by Ukraine on the way to visa-free regime with the EU. The expert disclosed the main problematic issues and steps which have to be done by the Government of Ukraine to make the EU decision on granting visa-free travel to Ukraine. Hence, the monitoring outcomes prepared by the experts of civic organization “Europe without Barriers” showed that the progress of Ukraine on the way to visa free regime with the EU is uneven and disproportionate. Major legal acts within the VLAP were adopted in May-October 2011 which proved to be the most productive period during the entire 1st phase of VLAP. Since November 2011 the pace of the VLAP implementation has slowed down. The intensification of the work was fixed in 2014: a notable improvements was achieved in Block 2 (Illegal Immigration including Readmission) , and a certain moderate success in Block 3 (Public Order and Security), awaiting changes were admitted in Block 1 (Document Security including Biometrics) and settled for rather modest advances in Block 4 (External Relations and Fundamental Rights).
The experts mentioned that during September –November 2014 and in February – March 2015, the EU evaluation expert’ mission visited Ukraine to assess the progress Ukraine achieved in implementation of the measures placed in the Visa liberalization Action Plan. The expert’s progress assessment was rather moderate; the official report will be published closer to the Riga Summit, which is scheduled to be held in May of the current year. Europe without Barriers experts presented their independent and alternative analysis on how Ukraine performs all the technical tasks of the second phase of the VLAP. The outcomes results of the communication with the EU experts from the evaluation mission as well as state authorities involved to the process have been also considered in analysis. Thus, the monitoring data noticed a wide range of problematic issues, which need to be resolved in order to be granted by the EU a visa free entry for the citizens of Ukraine.
Iryna Sushko, the head of the civic organization “Europe without Barriers” named the steps which shall be done by the Ukrainian Government to make visa free regime with the EU reality. Hence, the expert pointed out that in Block 1 : Document Security including Biometrics and data protection, the Ukrainian Government should:
Regulate the issue of Single Demographic Registry (SDR) (in the sphere of personal data protection in the SDR, the issue of SDR price and its overall relevancy)
- Improve the prevention procedure on use of false passports
- Grant a full access of the State Migration service to database on stolen documents
- Improve the procedure of a natural person name change
- Provide protection of internal passport’ security
- Provide the State Border Service with the equipment for checking and reading the E-passport information at all border cross checkpoints
In Block 2, in the sphere of asylum policy it is necessary to amend the Law of Ukraine “On refugees and persons that are in need of additional and temporary protection”:
- Regulate the status of persons, which are not granted the international protection status, and can’t be returned to their countries of origin/citizenship
- Improve regulations on persons detention, which are in search of international protection in Ukraine
- Increase the term of document validity, granting the right of stay in Ukraine for persons which seek international protection up to 6 months
In Block 3, in the sphere of law enforcement measures and organized crimes, terrorism and corruption fighting it is expected:
- To approve the state program regarding the implementation of a state anticorruption policy in Ukraine (Ant- corruption strategy) for the year 2014-2017
- To facilitate the procedure of removal of deputy immunity and privileges from judges and prosecutors
- To provide clear definition and functioning of subdivisions in the bodies, responsible for fighting organize crime
- To provide operability of the monitoring center in the sphere of drugs circulation
- To approve action plan for the year 2015 on the implementation of the Strategy of the state policy regarding drugs for the period till 2020
- To establish protected communicative network in the State Migration Service (SMS) for the information exchange between the central SMS apparatus and its regional bodies
- To improve departmental information data base in the law enforcement bodies work
- To launch the work of the single information and analytical system of migration management
In Block 4, in the sphere of fighting discrimination:
- To amend the Labor Code of Ukraine in the part of providing labor equality to all citizens with all features which are in need of protection
- To provide institutional and financial capacity of the State Migration Service and the Secretary of the Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights (financing new functions)
In conclusion Iryna Sushko emphasized that just after accomplishments of all the VLAP’s technical tasks and according to already established procedure the EC will prepare its proposals to the EU Council to introduce a visa free regime to Ukraine. The decision could be taken just on condition that all the measures placed in the VLAP will be implemented by Ukraine. The war at East of Ukraine could become a cornerstone for a positive decision, hence everything depends on civil society and state’ authorities synergetic cooperation with the EU Member States. The factor of war could have as positive as well negative influence on the EU Members States decision to abolish visas for the citizens of Ukraine.