Visa liberalization: Visa-free saga: high hopes vs reality (LIVE BLOG)

14:17 Nov. 24, 2016

Visa-free saga: high hopes vs reality (LIVE BLOG)

EU headquarters, Brussel, Belgium (GettyImages)

As Ukraine-EU summit proceeds, Ukraine feels disappointment, yet does not lose hope. Follow today's events with our live blog

On Thursday, November 24, Brussels is hosting talks between the leaders of Ukraine and the European Union in the framework of the 18th Ukraine-EU summit. The summit's agenda includes some 20 issues. Ukrainians had long awaited this meeting with expectations to finally get the visa-free travel to the European Union. Yet, well before the summit started, officials started to explain why it cannot happen right now. 

Check out Ukraine Today timeline on Ukraine's European aspirations EU-Ukraine visa-free epic tale: The day that never comes


17:00 Poroshenko: European Union under severe attack

"The EU is under very severe attack," Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko said answering a question whether he finds the bloc in a good shape.
"The European Union faces attack by populists, by nationalists, by eurosceptics, and by Russia which was confirmed yesterday by the decision of the European Parliament," Poroshenko said.

16:50 Merkel and Hollande will not block suspension clause – Juncker

"This small difference of opinion will be eliminated very soon. This morning I talked to Mrs Merkel and Mr Hollande, and I am sure the problem will be resolved by the end of the year," Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission said.

16:43 EU and Ukraine sign energy, anti-corruption deals

16:30 EU hopes to agree visa suspension mechanism by the year end

"We still hope to finalize this process this year. And this is a quite realistic and cautious optimism," Tusk said.

16:25 European Council President Tusk calls on the Netherlands to finish the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement 

"This agreement is not only of mutual economic benefit, but more importantly it carries great political significance…We are working hard to find a solution that will allow the Dutch to ratify it by addressing all the concerns while fully respecting the interests of Ukraine," Tusk said.

16:20 EU discussions do not concern Ukraine anymore as it has done its work perfect – Tusk

"Now the discussion concerns the relations between EU member states and European parliament with regard to the EU's visa policy," President of the European Council Donald Tusk said.

16:12 Dear Ukrainians, I know you deserve more – Tusk

"We have our own limitations but we will continue our efforts to implement your justified expectations," President of the European Council Donald Tusk said at a joint presser.

"I am happy that all EU member states decided that Ukraine is ready for a visa free regime. This decision is a recognition of Ukraine's achievements in meeting European standards," Tusk said.

"It will enter into force when the European Parliament and the Council find an agreement on the reform of the EU's visa policy, which is on track," he added.  

16:06 Europe links Russia sanctions to complete implementation of Minsk

President of the European Council Donald Tusk promised that Ukraine would not be left behind in its struggle to preserve territorial integrity and sovereignty.

"Europe must do everything in its power to make sure that Ukraine's independence and sovereignty are preserved," he said, adding that sanctions against Ukraine will be lifted when Minsk peace deal is implemented.

16:00 Petro Poroshenko: "Ukraine remains key EU partner in gas transit from Russia"

15:55 Donald Tusk: "Ukraine has completed everything. When it comes to France - it is not true," he said answering a question whether France is blocking the so-called suspension mechanism. "No one in Europe is interested in blocking the visa liberalization process for Ukraine," Tusk added.

"Paris helps us to find the solution, not the opposite," he added.

15: 30 Watch LIVE EU-Ukraine Summit presser in Brussels

14:50 Poroshenko urges EU to extend sanctions against Russia.

In an interview for the German Die Welt ahead of the key EU-Ukraine summit, Ukraine's President called for further "unity and solidarity" with Ukraine as it continues its struggle against Russian aggression.

EU sanctions against Russia, imposed for its invasion of Ukraine, are due to expire at the end of January.

13:40 Domestic issues in the EU, particularly on the suspension mechanism, must not affect decisions on visa-free travel for Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada deputy speaker Iryna Herashenko claimed during the Ukraine-EU summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Read more 'Ukraine must not suffer from EU problems' - Gerashchenko

13:30 ‘We (the EU Parliament) cannot quicken (the visa liberalization). The EU Parliament is ready, we have prepared everything in the relevant committees on the visa liberalization, and the so-called suspension mechanism too. The process is delayed here, in the Council, not in Parliament. And I hope the EU states will find a solution', said Martin Schulz, President of European Parliament.

Read more Why is suspension mechanism still not approved?

11:30 The reason visa liberalization will not happen in the near future is a conflict inside the EU. Paris does not agree to sign the suspension mechanism regulation. Some analysts say it could be dragged until presidential elections in France. 

Read more Yes, but no: Ukraine will not get visa liberalization today

09:30 The first issue listed on the agenda regards priorities in political and economic reforms, including the EU assistance.

Read more 18th EU-Ukraine summit: Reforms and visa liberalization are in focus

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