Photo from UNIAN

Ambassador of the Netherlands to Ukraine, Jennes de Mol, has said there is no threat to the visa-free travel between Ukraine and the EU.

"I know what you are asking, I saw a lot was written about this. But the news was based on the words of MEPs, while there were no talk about real threats," the envoy said in an interview with UNIAN.

The diplomat says the opportunity to travel to the EU countries by a simplified procedure is very important for Ukrainians since the main kind of European integration is ongoing "in their minds."

Read alsoForeign minister speaks on when EU may open borders for UkrainiansDe Mol stressed he believes, first of all, in direct communication between people.

"You know, I really appreciate that Ukrainians are free to travel. I believe in direct communication between people. Ukrainians may see how everything works here, understand what kind of society they seek to create. The most important integration is in their minds. Now there's huge disinformation warfare, but having seen everything with their own eyes, people may figure out what's true and what's not. They need to travel, look, and think, which country they want to build. Ukraine is a sovereign state, it determines its own path," he added.

Background

On August 21, 2020, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova signed an order to dismiss Deputy Prosecutor General and Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) chief Nazar Kholodnytsky, endorsing his resignation.

On September 17, the Verkhovna Rada appointed parliamentary members to the commission to select a new SAPO chief: Olena Busol, Andriy Hudzhal, Oleksiy Drozd, Kateryna Koval, Bohdan Romaniuk, Viacheslav Navrotsky, and Yevhen Sobol.

The European Parliament's Rapporteur for Ukraine, Michael Gahler, and the Vice-Chair of Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, expressed concern over the Verkhovna Rada's move.

"<…> Ukraine's government is hastily pushing candidates lacking experience and integrity to select SAPO head. This will not fly. Ukraine's government is jeopardizing visa-free with the EU and further trance of EUR1.5 billion assistance," MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel wrote on Twitter on September 17.

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv also commented on the developments. "The U.S. and the EU take note of the Rada decision to appoint members to the commission to choose the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor. The commission needs to embark on a transparent process with candidates' integrity and merits at its core. Our further support will depend upon it," the Embassy wrote on Facebook on September 17.

In turn, First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova said Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not see any grounds for the European Union to revise visa-free travel with Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky assured there was no threat to visa-free travel between Ukraine and the European Union.