Schulz: EP hopefully to complete talks with EU Council on Ukraine visa lib in Jan 2017
The European Parliament can reach an agreement with the Council of the European Union on granting Ukraine visa-free regime in January next year, President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz told a press conference in Brussels in the framework of the EU Summit December 15, an UNIAN correspondent reported.
Schultz has informed the heads of states and governments that the EU today had voted in favor of a visa waiver suspension mechanism.
"Now that Ukraine has fulfilled all the necessary criteria for visa liberalization, the time has come for the Council to stop delaying the process. Granting citizens of Ukraine a visa-free travel to the Schengen zone will be another message of support. The European Parliament was ready to hold talks in September, and we sincerely hope to conclude a deal with the Council in January," Schulz said.
Read also"No one postponed anything": EP source elaborates on date of Ukraine visa lib vote As UNIAN reported earlier, today, December 15, the European Parliament adopted proposals for a visa waiver suspension mechanism. This decision is yet to be approved by the EU Council.
The amendments provide flexibility in the application of a visa liberalization mechanism. Visa waivers may be suspended when the number of citizens who are refused entry or who violate immigration rules in the EU increases significantly; when a number of unfounded asylum applications increases significantly, or in case there is lack of cooperation on readmission issues. Visa requirements can be re-introduced in the face of a threat from third countries to public order or internal security of the EU.
Read alsoCompromise with Netherlands on Ukraine-EU deal may be postponed – EU officialThe suspension mechanism can be applied both by the Member States and the European Commission. The Commission is also entrusted with the function of monitoring the situation in countries that are exempt from visas, and at least once a year, it has to report to the Parliament and the Council on how these countries fulfill the conditions of a visa-free regime and respect human rights.
The issue of visa liberalization for Ukraine will be put to a vote in the European Parliament immediately after the completion of the inter-institutional negotiations.