President Petro Poroshenko said today he hopes to receive a clear date for the implementation of the visa-free regime between Ukraine and Schengen countries after the summit of the European Union Eastern Partnership program, which is set for May next year.
At a meeting with the high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security Federica Mogerini in Kyiv, the President said they agreed to finalize all the procedures that are necessary for the visa-free regime before the summit.
Earlier today Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk, who just returned from Brussels, expressed hope that at this summit in Riga in May, Ukraine would receive a visa-free regime.
Also today the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia told Radio Liberty that the European Union could grant Ukraine and Georgia visa-free regimes to the Schengen area next year, at the EU Easter Partnership summit in May, which is to take place in Riga – Latvia will delegate the European Union for the next half-year.
Ukraine is currently behind in terms of some technical issues, he added.
Today Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Linkevicius wrote on twitter that his country initiated an open letter to the EU leadership, signed by seven of his colleagues, with the call to speed up visa liberalization for the partner countries before the Eastern Partnership summit.
Yesterday at the first session of the newly formed Council for the Ukraine-EU Association in Brussels, both sides expressed their commitment to achieving the visa-free regime under the condition that all demands are met. According to the joint press release, the sides positively noted that Ukraine had met all the demands of the first phase of the action plan and is beginning to evaluate the demands of phase two.
Out of the Eastern Partnership members, Moldova has already been granted a visa-free regime, as it surpassed Ukraine, which had preceded before. Ukraine was left behind in during Viktor Yanukovych’s presidency, which under Russia’s pressure severely limited Ukraine’s EU integration. Former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov untruthfully claimed that the EU demanded that Ukraine legalize same-sex marriage to be granted visa-free traveling.