Kyiv counts on speedy granting of visa free regime to Ukrainians
Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine for European Integration Olena Zerkal and head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli at a meeting on Wednesday discussed the prospect of a speedy introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukrainians, as well as cooperation in the energy sector.
"It was emphasized that Ukraine has fulfilled all the criteria of the Action Plan on the EU’s liberalization of the visa regime for Ukraine, which is confirmed by the report of the European Commission dated December 18 2015. (...) In this context Ukraine expects that the institutions and EU member states will make additional efforts to adopt legislative proposals on granting the right to short-term visa-free travel for the Ukrainians to the EU countries in the near future, regardless of the process of harmonization within the EU mechanism for the temporary suspension of the visa free regime," the Foreign Ministry's press service said.
During the discussion of energy cooperation, Zerkal raised the issue of the recent decision of the European Commission, which was a consequence of the introduction of additional exemptions with respect to third party access to the OPAL pipeline capacity. According to her, the adoption of such decisions without prior consultation with the Ukrainian side violates the Article 274 of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, providing for mutual consideration of the parties the capacity and energy infrastructure opportunities to each other, as well as consultations and coordination of their actions in the field of security of energy resources supply.
In addition, the deputy head of the Foreign Ministry said the European Commission in the preparation process of such solutions must comply with the commitments made by the EU in the framework of its participation in the Treaty establishing the Energy Community, in particular, to respect in relations with Ukraine and other partner countries the principle of solidarity and to avoid making decisions that would be contrary to the EU competition law.
"During the discussion of the completion of ratification procedure of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and EU in view of the results of April referendum in the Netherlands, it was agreed to continue active cooperation with the Dutch side, including in the trilateral format "EU Council-Netherlands-Ukraine" with a view to finding a mutually acceptable solution which would complete the process of ratification of the Association Agreement before the European Council meeting on December 15-16, 2016," the message says.