Visa negotiations

May 9, 2011

Well dear readers, some time ago I mentioned that 5/6th May would the time when the EU and Ukraine sat down to discuss Visas again.

It is an on-going issue that Ukraine, quite rightly keeps high upon its agenda having made certain unilateral moves many years ago yet to be reciprocated.

5/6th May was the first round of amendment talks to what has been agreed before and for the most part not implemented.  However, how can you implement something you know is going to be amended during any implementation process time frame?

It makes more sense to deal with matters when the goal posts are no longer moving as far as the EU is concerned, and for Ukraine, it is important to keep the Visa momentum going and not get hung up on unimplemented detail that is subject to on-going amendment talks.  Only when all is finally agreed and amendments concluded is there good reason for Ukraine to spit out the dummy should the EU not implement agreements in a timely fashion.

In fact, the agreed amendments from 5/6 May will not be implemented either until at least June or July as there is a second round of amendment talks due prior to the end of June which may of course, amend some amendments as well as the original agreement again.

At this juncture I feel I should stress I am not talking about Visa-free travel for the short term 90 day tourists enjoyed by EU citizens in Ukraine for the past 6 years but denied to Ukrainians wishing to go to the EU.  That is a different branch of the same genus but not subject to what has been discussed in the last few days.

No, here we are talking about specific categories of Visas that will remain long after Visa-free has been introduced and which still apply to Europeans doing anything other than a 90 day (or less) tourist trip to Ukraine.  We are talking about genuine reciprocation in certain Visa areas.

So which Visa categories am I talking about?

Kyiv and Brussels are planning to end talks in less than six months on expanding the list of categories of Ukrainians who will qualify for simplified visa procedures.

The first round of talks on amending the visa facilitation agreement as part of a meeting of the EU-Ukraine Joint Readmission Committee was held in Brussels on Friday.

Director of the Consular Service Department of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Andriy Olefirov told Ukrainian reporters that the talks had gone well.

“The European side has already agreed that visas will be free for the categories of citizens to be included in this agreement. In particular, this concerns representatives of religious organizations, professional organizations and non-governmental organizations. These are three very broad categories,” he said.

Olefirov said that the second round of talks would be held no later than July and that between these two rounds the parties had agreed to work in the regime of teleconferences so as not to “lose time and agree on outstanding issues.”

 “We are not talking about years and not even about six months, but a much shorter time. There is full support from the European Commission,” he said.

I know, that has left you think eh?

Well all is fairly well explained here about the “hows, whys and whens” should you want to try and get your head into it a come out with a reasonable grasp.

What is actually being discussed is the removal of the Euro 35 fees for certain categories of Visa (but not all), by July and nothing more.

Gripping stuff eh?

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