Friday

14th Dec 2018

Ukraine visa deal hangs in the balance

  • Borispol airport in Kiev: The EU said it would lift the visa requirement for Ukrainian citizens in October (Photo: Vladimir Kud)

The prospect of Ukrainians gaining visa-free travel to the EU is fading, amid a bitter row over the introduction of a computer system for public officials to declare their interests.

The measure was the final remaining condition set by the EU to allow visa waivers.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The government put the system online on 15 August, which was the agreed deadline.

But the state service for government communications (SSSCIP) refused to certify the system, saying technical problems mean that the system was incapable of properly protecting information.

The lack of certification means information from the system cannot be used to prosecute officials.

Critics accused the SSSCIP of deliberately sabotaging the introduction of the system in order to protect corrupt officials.

President Petro Poroshenko vowed last week that the system would be launched on time.

“Electronic asset declarations will be launched on 15 August,” Poroshenko wrote on his Facebook page last Thursday (11 August). “I'm not considering another date and can't even hear of a delay! I'm asking you not to believe in rumours and speculation.”

The system is linked both to the lifting of visas for Ukrainian citizens wishing to travel to the EU, as well as payment of the next tranche of funds from the International Monetary Fund and other financial assistance from the EU and the World Bank.

Corruption is the main obstacle to granting Ukrainians visa freedom, an EU source told this website in June.

The EU Delegation to Ukraine said it was “very disappointed and concerned” by the launch of an incomplete system.

The delegation said the system needed to be certified “to ensure criminal liability for making false statements”.

“This is essential for making such a system work and contribute to combating corruption, in accordance with Ukraine's commitments to the EU and to the international community,” the delegation wrote on Facebook.

“From what we understand there are no substantive reason for withholding certification. Certification should be provided without further delay.”

Ukrainians will be bitterly disappointed if the issue of e-declarations forfeits their chances at visa free travel. The deal has been negotiated for eight years already.

But Yehor Sobolev, an MP of the Self-help party and head of the anti-corruption committee in Ukraine’s parliament, said his country needed “tough love” from the EU.

”The position of our key international partner should be firm. Corruption means no visa freedom. Indeed, it is very easy for the Ukrainian government to implement anti-corruption legislation that we - the MPs - have adopted. And that is what Ukrainian society needs,” Sobolev told this website.

Focus

Denmark leads Ukraine anti-corruption drive

The EU has unveiled an anti-corruption scheme for Ukraine, amid concerns that its officials and lawmakers are undermining a key reform in the fight against villainy.

News in Brief

  1. Selmayr has no comment on MEPs' call to resign
  2. May had 'robust' discussion with Juncker
  3. UK to continue talks on EU 'assurances'
  4. EU invests €20m in AI software for self-driving cars
  5. Belgian PM 'not optimistic', urges 'no deal' Brexit preparedness
  6. Romanian president expects no Brexit summit in January
  7. Swedish MPs reject Lofven to lead new government
  8. EU commission's Selmayr 'must resign', MEPs say

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General

Latest News

  1. Kosovo has right to its own army, Germany and US say
  2. EU needs election-meddling stress tests
  3. Russian and US obstruction was 'insult' to climate scientists
  4. EU-27 unimpressed by May, offer little on Brexit
  5. Rutte: New EU sanctions are informal 'Magnitsky law'
  6. EU summit hits asylum fatigue as deadlock continues
  7. Battered May seeks Brexit 'assurances' from EU
  8. Lost in Brexit chaos - abortion rights in Northern Ireland

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us