Ukrainians will build a successful state by travelling and learning from the EU life.

The Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels (further the Office) continues its work towards ensuring visa-free regime between the EU and Ukraine. On July 3-6 experts of the CSO Europe Without Barriers, CEDOS, Reanimation Package of Reforms and journalist of the “European Pravda” joined their efforts during the working visit to Brussels.

On July 3-6 experts of the CSO Europe Without Barriers, CEDOS, Reanimation Package of Reforms and journalist of the “European Pravda” joined their efforts during the working visit to Brussels.

These days, the European Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission will decide on the procedure of the visa liberalisation for Ukraine. The experts hold the meetings with the EU diplomats and the representatives of the European institutions, as well as join the events with the participation of the experts, journalists and wide group of those interested in the development of the EU-Ukraine relations.

On July 4th, the Office in cooperation with the Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies held a conference “EU Visa liberalisation: testing Ukraine’s migration policy”. More than 70 participants joined the event.

The analysts Kateryna Kulchytska (CO Europe without Barriers) and Andriy Solodko (CEDOS) presented key findings and recommendations based on the research “Ukrainian Visa Liberalisation and Migration Policy Reform: Paving the Way for EU-Ukraine Cooperation”:DSC01472

1. Ukraine should start applying tailor made approaches to the different migration groups. The EU should enhance its involvement into shaping the comprehensive Ukrainian migration policy by sharing its expertise and contributing resources.

2. Cooperation between the relevant law-enforcement agencies of Ukraine and EU member states must be strengthened in such areas as data exchange, integrated policy management, external border protection (for the border police), dealing with refugees and asylum seekers and countering the irregular migration.

3. The visa-free regime should be granted to Ukraine. This will facilitate the development of an effective, consistent and comprehensive migration policy of Ukraine, which will enable to effectively manage migration processes within its borders, maintain stability and, thus, contribute to the overall security of the Eastern border of the EU.

DSC01536Alexandra Stiglmayer, European Stability Initiative, commenced the discussion with a hard talk on obstacles for Ukraine to obtain visa-free regime in the nearest future.  Among indicated are migration policies within the EU, number of refugees and asylum seekers coming from the Balkans to the EU, and the fact that the EU considers providing visa-free regime not only to Ukraine, but also to Turkey, Kosovo and Georgia. The total population of these countries is almost 130 mln. As a matter of fact, Ukraine is a country with ongoing war. However, the expert is convinced that Ukraine will obtain visa-free regime. To complete the procedure efficiently within tight deadlines, Ukraine shall consider number of aspects. First of all, it shall ensure better integration of the IDPs. It is crucial to analyze the situation on asylum seekers in the EU. Respectively the state shall create conditions for its citizens to stay in their country. Finally, Ukrainian authorities shall cooperate with the respective authorities in the EU in order to provide responses to their warnings and threats regarding possible implications of obtaining the visa-free regime by Ukraine.

Vit Novotny, Martens Centre, shared his views on why the EU needs to provide visa-free regime to Ukraine. He noted that, currently, majority of Ukrainians do not speak foreign languages, only 12% travelled to the EU, and only 20% anywhere else abroad. Providing visa-free regime will enable those Ukrainians to experience life in the EU by traveling abroad, thus, to demand the equal conditions and standards of life in their country. Concluding, Ukrainians visiting the EU will get first-hand knowledge, which will help them to build a successful state.