13:49 Nov. 30, 2016
European Parliament explains why island nations are granted visa liberalization and Ukraine is not
Unjustified delay of visa liberalisation for Ukraine and Georgia at a time when the privilege is granted to some island nations is not a policy of double standards.
That is how European Parliament rapporteur on visa liberalisation Mariya Gabriel commented on the issue when asked by an Ukrinform correspondent.
On December 1, the EP is set to ratify a visa waiver agreement between the EU and five Pacific island nations, namely Micronesia, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Tuvalu.
"I want to be clear: there is no inconsistency in it. When it comes to these small islands, the decisions on them had already been taken before, but not this week. This is a different situation compared with Ukraine and Georgia," Gabriel said.
The Bulgarian politician noted that the European Parliament for its part, at this stage, has approved all the decisions needed to cancel visa requirements for Ukrainians and Georgians, and linking this process to a new suspension mechanism is an EU Council initiative.
"I have always stated very clearly that there is no sense to directly tie the mechanism of suspension to granting visa-free regime. So, as a rapporteur, I will continue to insist on this," the MEP stressed.
The European Parliament plans to consider the mechanism for the suspension of visa-free travel for third countries in January, according to its schedule released on November 29.
The indicative date of the plenary session to discuss the issue is January 18, 2017.