Tombiński: Ukraine not to get visa-free regime at Riga summit
Ukraine will not receive a visa-free regime with the European Union during the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga on May 21-22, head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine Jan Tombiński said on Tuesday, according to an UNIAN correspondent.
"This decision will not take place due to the lack of time for such a decision," Tombiński said.
According to Tombiński, an EU expert mission is now working in Ukraine, the task of which is to check on the implementation of Ukraine's obligations under the visa-free dialogue.
"After the European Commission makes its [own] conclusions, it will give them to the EU member states for evaluation," he said.
"There are two months left before the Riga Summit. That’s very little time in which to finish all this. As of today, there are no conclusions, no appeal to the EC, as the Ukrainian government is still working on it," Tombiński said.
At the same time, Tombiński said that the introduction of a visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union was still on the agenda.
"This purpose still remains - nobody has canceled it. Our goal is a visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU," he said.
"[But] it takes time to resolve all of the technical issues," Tombiński said.
Asked about whether the declaration of the summit would mention the issue of a visa-free regime for Ukraine, he said that this question would be included in the document.
According to Tombiński, the media has already published the first draft of the summit declaration without mentioning this issue.
"This is a first draft – we’ve still go to work and we have two months to do everything. And this is a common declaration, not only of the European countries, but also of the Eastern Partnership countries. Our Ukrainian colleagues are actively working there," he added.
As UNIAN reported earlier, the dialogue between the EU and Ukraine on a visa-free regime began on October 29, 2008, and the Action Plan on a visa-free regime was presented to Ukraine on November 22, 2010.
Ukraine completed the so-called first stage of the implementation of the Action Plan on a visa-free regime in 2013.
Since September 2014, Ukraine has implemented the second phase and approved the required acts and decisions.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said that Ukraine expected a decision on a visa-free regime with the European Union at the summit of the Eastern Partnership countries in Riga in May 2015.
The representatives of the EU expert mission will work in the Interior Ministry and other agencies until the end of the week, evaluating the implementation of criteria of the second phase of the Action Plan on a visa-free regime with the EU.
Experts have said the EU is dragging its feet over granting Ukraine a visa-free regime due to fears over the security situation in the east of the country.