Tuesday 24 April 2018 | 07:44

Ulad Vialichka: Ukraine and Georgia deserve a visa-free regime with the EU

08.06.2016  |  Society   |  Aliaksei Jurych,  EuroBelarus
Ulad Vialichka: Ukraine and Georgia deserve a visa-free regime with the EU

A delay in granting a visa-free regime will cause a significant blow to the pro-European forces not only in Ukraine and Georgia, but also in all the countries of the Eastern Partnership.

Ukraine and Georgia are expecting visa-free regime with the European Union any day now. Kiev and Tbilisi have met all the conditions for visa-free regime that the EU set.

It came as a sheer surprise: it turns out that Germany and France are elaborating a regulation according to which certain countries of the EU will be able to suspend visa-free regime. The reason for this is the fear that the rapid and "package" endowment of a visa-free regime with Georgia, Ukraine, and Kosovo will worsen security situation. Die Welt informs that the decision on the visa-free regime is slowing down: The EU Justice and Home Affairs Council won't endorse the abolition of visas for Ukraine and Georgia in the coming week.

Berlin and Paris insist that by the time of the introduction of visa-free regime a suspension amendment should be added to the legislation. Besides, the abolition of visas should be introduced not for all countries at the same time, but for each country separately.

Failure to comply with the EU commitments will be a "cold shower" for the pro-European forces in all the countries of the Eastern Partnership, thus causing additional ideological attacks from the Russian media.

"Eastern Partnership" Civil Society Forum is convinced that the European Union must fulfill its part of the arrangements, giving Georgia and Ukraine visa-free regime without additional terms. The statement of the Steering Committee of the EaP Civil Society Forum issued today recognizes "the legitimate right and urgent need of the EU to control its external borders”; however, “Ukraine and Georgia are the Eastern Partnership members who fully complied with the requirements of the Visa Liberalization Action Plans (VLAPs) and are not posing any essential migration challenges to the EU, which was confirmed by the European Commission. The revision of the temporary suspension mechanism will automatically apply to all countries enjoying the visa waiver with the EU, there is no practical need to combine such amendments with the decision on visa liberalisation for Georgia and Ukraine."

Ulad Vialichka, the co-chair of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee, shares his viewpoint on the matter shares with the “EuroBelarus” Information Service.

- This week, Georgia and Ukraine are waiting for the EU decision on granting them a visa-free regime, but the European Union is hesitating. There is information on introducing additional terms for granting a visa-free regime, which are not specified above.

However, Georgia and Ukraine have come a long way of negotiations on visa-free regime, fulfilling all the conditions of the European Union and they deserve it. Therefore, both countries seriously expect the EU to implement the agreements. An attempt to slow down the process and digress from the original agreement will signal double standards. In addition, it will certainly cause a wave of discontent in Ukraine and Georgia and will be a signal to all anti-European forces in the Eastern Partnership countries and Russia itself. The EU's refusal to grant visa-free regime will cause a significant blow to the European forces in the region.

- Why has the EU decided to "slow down" visa-free regime by introducing additional conditions?

- We can only talk about the reasons that are voiced publicly.

Firstly, Europe has problems with huge migration flows. The European Union structures are mostly afraid of providing visa-free regime to Ukraine, because more than 40 million Ukrainians will get the right to move freely within the EU borders.

On the other hand, Germany voices some cases of criminal activity involving ethnic Georgians as its reason. However, these arguments sound very absurd, because this problem is not so significant, and was not on the agenda.

In my opinion, the arguments "against" are nothing more than political games.

- Which consequences in the "Eastern Partnership" countries will have the suspension of visa-free regime with the EU?

- Eastern Partnership countries consider Ukraine and Georgia to be leaders in the process of Europeanization. Failure to comply with its obligations will cause doubt in the EU’s ability to reach agreements. Failure to make decisions based on the voiced standards means that there are other, not articulated standards, which has a very negative impact on any public process.

Failure to provide a visa-free regime to Georgia and Ukraine will serve as an excuse for political speculation for the opponents of the Europeanization in all Eastern Partnership countries that won’t miss an opportunity slender EU’s inability to fulfill its obligations in the negotiation process.

Other news section «Society»

The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
Experts in Valožyn have determined that the quality of people’s life depends on their awareness.
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
On March 3, members of the campaign "Agenda 50" from different Belarusian cities met in Minsk. The campaign is aimed at the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
There are being implemented three projects under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities campaign in the city of Babruysk.
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
In Ščučyn, people with disabilities learned to be leaders and to advocate their interests.
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
In Stolin, social organizations and local authorities are implementing a project aimed at independent living of persons with disabilities, and creating local agenda for the district.
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Will creation of local agendas be an effective tool in ensuring rights of persons with disabilities in Belarus, just as it was in Poland?
“It is impossible to talk about persons with disabilities separately from the rest of the country”
“It is impossible to talk about persons with disabilities separately from the rest of the country”
The understanding that all people have equal rights has been the basis for social changes, including those related to disability issues, in Poland.
Andrei Yahorau: Everything depends on people in the regions
Andrei Yahorau: Everything depends on people in the regions
A social project "Equal to Equal" has been launched in Stolin district under the campaign "Agenda 50".
“Agenda 50": the problems can be solved only by solidarity and equal treatment
“Agenda 50": the problems can be solved only by solidarity and equal treatment
Five Belarusian cities are open to the campaign launched there to translate into practice the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Statement of the BNP in connection with the prosecution of the Belarusan independent trade unions
Statement of the BNP in connection with the prosecution of the Belarusan independent trade unions
The Belarusan National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum issued a statement in connection with the criminal prosecution of the leaders of the Belarusan independent trade unions.
Sofia Sadovskaya: Parents do not understand why one needs contemporary Belarusan art
Sofia Sadovskaya: Parents do not understand why one needs contemporary Belarusan art
For the last five years, the Children's Creative Workshops (CCW) acquaints children with fine arts in a game form.
Larysa Bycko: Heritage can only be preserved together
Larysa Bycko: Heritage can only be preserved together
Many people came to the premiere of the play "Memory Shelter" to the village of Stuly in the Pruzany Rajon [District].
Zmicier Surski - We should pay tribute to the Belarusan poster
Zmicier Surski - We should pay tribute to the Belarusan poster
In 1991, poster artists from the Soviet Union sent 120 posters to the triennale in Japanese Tayama.
Oksana Gaiko - Our audio guide of Brest is a monument to Holocaust victims
Oksana Gaiko - Our audio guide of Brest is a monument to Holocaust victims
The center of Brest can now be studied with the help of an audio guide called Brest Stories Guide - however, meanwhile, only one of the city pages - anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.
To preserve heritage and to become valuable for each other
To preserve heritage and to become valuable for each other
On June, 16th, in the Minsk-based creative space CECH, the results of the work of the international program "CHOICE - Cultural Heritage - Opportunity for Civic Engagement" were presented.
Belarusan human rights defenders’ view on human rights activity and questions of cooperation
Belarusan human rights defenders’ view on human rights activity and questions of cooperation
We present a research results report of Belarusan human rights organizations sector.
Historical and Cultural Heritage and Its Substance
Historical and Cultural Heritage and Its Substance
Our expert in issues of forming identity on local visual codes, professional designer Michal Aniempadystau prepared a special report for our meeting in Brussels and further at a Belarusian discussion.
Social base of transformation programs in Belarus
Social base of transformation programs in Belarus
The Centre for European Transformation has prepared a sociological research report (abridged version) of social base of transformation programs in Belarus.
Opportunities for launching in Belarus the mechanisms to enjoyment of HR by persons with disabilitie
Opportunities for launching in Belarus the mechanisms to enjoyment of HR by persons with disabilitie
The Centre for European Transformation has prepared a research report of potential and opportunities for launching in Belarus the mechanisms to enjoyment of human rights by persons with disabilities.
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

"Vilnius Consultations": Key points and recommendations on the future of EU Eastern Partnership

On September 11, the inaugural „Vilnius Consultations“ conference was organized by Vilnius Institute for Policy Analysis and Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Belarus's Lukashenko alleges “fifth column” plot as unrest continues

Belarusan President Lukashenko said on Tuesday a “fifth column” was plotting to overthrow him with the help of foreign-backed fighters, days before a planned street protest in Minsk against a new tax.

The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations

What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?