European Commission to propose visa-free travel for Ukraine despite Dutch ruling
Apr 11, 2016 04:59 AM EDT
The European Commission has extended its hands to propose the granting of visa-free travel to Ukraine even though a Dutch referendum has voted against it. The vote was partly motivated by hostility to migration.
According to Sputnik News, on Sunday, the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, said he's expecting that the EU would draft a legislation that would grant Ukraine visa-free regime after Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker's promise in March.
Poroshenko said in a statement that "The association agreement will not be changed, it is now already being used, starting with a free trade area. In the near future, in the next few days I'm waiting for the decision from the European Commission on the transfer of a legislative proposal to the European Parliament and the EU Council on the visa-free regime, and I hope that the Ukrainians will get it."
Meanwhile, Reuters said that a source indicated that the move might look as if the EU is ignoring the Dutch voters but they're keen in keeping their word to Ukraine. The proposal must be approved first by the qualified majority of the EU member states and then the European Parliament will make it known. The source also added that the commission would include some of the safeguard, enabling EU countries to reinstate visas temporarily in case of a surge of migration.
Daily Mail wrote that the Dutch voted 61 percent last week in a non-binding referendum called by Eurosceptics to reject the association agreement on closer political, security and trade ties between Kiev and the 28-nation bloc. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the government must not proceed with the deal which the other 27 EU countries have already approved. In a comment, the EU commission has said that it would be up to Dutch leaders whether to reflect on the vote and move a way forward.
It is notable that Ukraine is not the only country impatiently awaiting for visa-free travel. The commission leaders have promised that they're going to speed up visa liberalization for Turkey too. The Commission is also working on a politically sensitive proposal to extend to Kosovo.