Ukraine has come to the third anniversary of the beginning of the Euromaidan protests in a difficult situation. The coup-installed government pledged to accelerate Kiev’s integration into the European Union and has made numerous attempts to intensify ties with the EU. However, no visible progress has been made so far.
Kiev and Brussels have not agreed a visa-free regime while a joint free-trade area has not been beneficial for Ukrainian people and businesses. Experts suggest that Brussels delaying the decision on visas for Ukraine is not a sign of souring ties between Brussels and Kiev. Instead, it is related to the political situation within the European Union, reports Sputnik.
According to European officials, the main reason behind the delay is the need to coordinate the mechanism to suspend a visa-free regime with third parties in the event of a migrant influx. The final decision is due to be made by the European Parliament and the EU Council which issued a preliminary approval last week.
However, Brussels keeps away from setting any precise terms. Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine Hughes Mingarelli underscored that "this will happen in the coming future, not within 5-15 years."
Currently, there are no hidden reasons why Brussels is delaying visa liberalization for Ukraine, said Mikhail Pogrebinsky, head of the Kiev-based Center for Political and Conflict Studies.
"I don’t think this situation stems from Brussels’ attitude towards Kiev. In fact, it has not changed over the past two years. Now, European officials have no illusions about the Maidan coup. But they know about corruption in Ukraine and other problems. But I think that the delay of visa liberalization is related to the inner problems of the bloc, including the migrant crisis," Pogrebinsky said.
At the same time, the expert expressed hope that finally the EU will introduce a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens, but it will be useless to most Ukrainians.
"The point is that this visa-free regime will be limited. For those who want to travel to Europe there is no problem getting a visa because those people usually have money. But tens of thousands of Ukrainians want to go to work in the EU. But Brussels never promised to make this possible," Pogrebinsky explained.
“The problem is that the entire Ukrainian national strategy is built around a worthless idea. Moldova’s case shows that a free-trade area and an association deal with the EU cannot change the situation in the country for the better," Ukrainian expert on international affairs Oleg Voloshin said.
"Ukraine’s membership in the EU will never happen. This means that Ukraine will not became an EU country member thus it will never have access to European financial funds, like such countries as Romania, Bulgaria and Poland," he added.
DONi News Agency