IN THE SPOTLIGHT
EaP CSF Co-organized the Panel Discussion: Visa Liberalisation for Ukraine - Is the EU Ready to Support It?
4 December 2015
On 1 December 2015, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum together with the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels, International Renaissance Foundation and the EPP Group of the European Parliament co-organized a panel discussion on challenges and prospects of visa liberalisation for Ukraine.
The event was hosted at the European Parliament by MEPs Michaela Šojdrová, Sandra Kalniete and Jaromír Štětina, who addressed the audience with welcoming remarks. Liubov Nepop from the Ukraine Mission to the EU, Olga Kvashuk from the International Renaissance Foundation also took part in the opening panel, moderated by Vera Rihachkova from the EaP CSF Secretariat.
The opening was followed by the expert discussion, moderated by Olena Prystayko, the Ukrainian Think Tanks Liaison Office in Brussels. Ukrainian experts from the NGO Europe without Barriers (EWB) presented the results of their project assessing the migration and security situation in Ukraine, and the attitude of the EU Member States towards visa-free regime for Ukraine.
The results were discussed during the session in terms of their impact on the prospects of the visa-free regime for Ukraine with the EU. After presenting the results, including the Migration Security Map of Ukraine, which showed that despite the armed conflict in the country, internally displaced people only make 3,5 % of total population of Ukraine while only 5% of the asylum seekers in the EU are Ukrainians, the experts concluded that Ukraine does not pose any migration risks to the EU.
In support of these arguments, the migration expert from the Institute of Public Affairs in Poland Piotr Kazmierkiewicz stressed that the visa-free regime with Ukraine is of utmost importance for European security. Roman Andarak representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine emphasized the importance of visa liberalisation process for Ukraine’s commitment to reforms as it has been driving the realisation of other reforms in Ukraine since the initiation of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) in 2010. Liubov Nepop from the Ukraine Mission to the EU echoed a similar opinion about the significance of visa liberalisation for Ukraine by noting that: “visa liberalisation is not only about mobility but rather about the feeling of belonging to Europe”.
As part of their visit to Brussels, the experts of the Europe without Barriers held the press-briefing "Visa Liberalisation for Ukraine: Who is For and Who Is Against" and a number of meetings with MEPs, EU officials from DG Home, European External Action Service, European Economic and Social Committee and COEST representatives, as well as the acting Head of the Mission of Ukraine to the EU Liubov Nepop.