Waiting for visa cancellation: Visa-free travel for Ukrainians unlikely in November
Politics17:49 Nov. 22, 2016

Visa-free travel for Ukrainians unlikely in November

The decision to open EU borders for Ukraine may take months to come into effect

No more certificates from tax service, workplace, banks, as well as lines in consulates and nervous anticipation receiving that long awaited visa. Just go buy a ticket and travel wherever you want around Europe. That's the pretty picture Ukrainians would like to see right after the announcement about the end of visa restrictions for Ukraine.

However, there will be no visa-free travels unless EU officials come up with a way on how to suspend the regime already in place. The most concerned about the mechanism in protecting the Schengen zone in case a big flow of migrants were France and Germany.

Frans Timmermans, European Commission First Vice-President: This relates to the protection of our outer borders and internal security. We need to make sure we can detect potential travel of migrants or criminals.

Read also EU Council agrees ultimate timing for visa liberalization for Ukraine

He probably meant a mechanism of a prior authorization for citizens of the countries enjoying visa-free regime and willing to enter the EU.

The instrument is similar to the American or Canadian Electronic System for Travel Authorization. Travelers don't need visas but the prior authorization of filling in a special online application form. taking 5 minutes to fill in and 5 euros cost.

Frans Timmermans has made assurances that one authorization will be operational for 5 years.

But even so, visa-free travel won't be granted on or by November 24, as Kyiv expected. The following steps must be made first:
1. The vote of the EU Parliament (likely in mid-December).
2. The approval by the EU Council.
3. Entry into force (2-3 months).

In the best case scenario, Europe won't open its borders until February, 2017.

Read also Klimkin indicates progress on Ukraine's visa-free path

The only thing where the EU and Ukraine are standing firmly together is support on anti-Russian sanctions, that they will be prolonged.

Angela Merkel assured that in December this year, the sanctions must be kept in force.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany: We rely on a political settlement of problems, That's why, there is a Normandy Four process. We actively cooperate with the US. Russia is our neighbor. We are interested in good relations, we have historic ties with it. But it's not a reason  not mention about any disagreements we encounter.

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