The European Commission for Foreign Relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, asked Ukraine to give up visa requirements for Romanians and Bulgarians, in order to help the adoption of the special visa regime between the European Union and Kiev, according to Mediafax, quoting the Ukrainian News Agency online.

The commissioner added however that the EU is not conditioning Ukraine’s accession to the World Trade Organisation on the elimination of visa requirements for Romanian and Bulgarian citizens. “This refusal influences the authority of President Viktor Yushchenko, of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich, of the entire Ukraine, but will not influence the country’s accession to WTO. It is clear however that the visa granting accord for Ukraine will not come in effect if visas for Romanians and Bulgarians are not lifted,” said Ferrero-Waldner.

She added that the EU is an organisation based on solidarity and that Romania and Bulgaria are new EU member states which must benefit from the same treatment as the other members of the bloc. “We are collaborating with you to solve the last aspects that still need to be addressed in order for Ukraine to join WTO. Some progress has been reported, but there still are problems,” added the European Commissioner.

Ukraine and the EU agreed in March that their partnership and cooperation agreement be extended to include Romania and Bulgaria as well.