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Brussels, 23 May 2014
Commissioner Malmström welcomes progress in the visa liberalisation process with Ukraine
"Ukraine's path towards visa liberalisation is moving ahead. Over the past few months the Ukrainian authorities have made important efforts to put in place the necessary legislative, policy and institutional framework and fulfil the first-phase requirements of our visa dialogue. I can already say that on the basis of our analysis, the legislation passed and other measures adopted are sufficient to consider that Ukraine has been able to meet the first stage benchmarks of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan and I suggest to my colleagues in the Commission that we move to the 2nd phase, where we will be checking the implementation of all these rules. This assessment will be reflected in the Commission's next report, which is to be adopted shortly.
I welcome and appreciate these efforts and the political commitment of the Ukrainian government. The recent adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament of laws in the fields of document security, asylum, anti-corruption, anti-discrimination and data protection, as well as other measures, aimed to address the outstanding issues identified by the Commission in its last progress report. This is a significant achievement, an important step in the process that will bring the country closer to its goal of visa free regime with the EU. But the hard work is not over. Ukraine will need to demonstrate that all these rules are thoroughly implemented, in particular on discrimination where we await the full completion of the reform of the protection framework. The Commission will continue to provide assistance with a view to ensure a concrete and comprehensive track record of the implementation", said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs
The enhanced mobility of citizens in a secure and well-managed environment is one of the core objectives of the Eastern Partnership. To this end, the EU carries out Visa Liberalisation Dialogues with interested partner countries.
The main tool of the dialogue is the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan which is tailor-made for each partner country and structured around four blocks concerning i) document security, including biometrics; ii) integrated border management, migration management, asylum; iii) public order and security; and iv) external relations and fundamental rights.
The Action plan contains two tiers of benchmarks: first phase benchmarks concerning the overall policy framework (legislation and institutions), which are to pave the way for the second phase benchmarks relating to effective and sustainable implementation of the relevant measures.
The EU-Ukraine Visa Liberalisation Dialogue was launched on 29 October 2008 and the VLAP was presented to the Ukraine on 22 November 2010. In its last progress report from November 2013 (IP/13/1085), the Commission found that Ukraine had made substantial progress in all four blocks of the VLAP, in particular since the end of 2012, speeding up its implementation and adopting a number of substantial legislative packages in order to tackle the identified gaps. However, there were still some important first phase requirements that had to be met.