Monday

17th Jun 2019

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. Swiss stock exchange could lose EU access in July
  2. Austria's Strache will not take up EU parliament seat
  3. Tanker attacks pose questions for EU on Iran deal
  4. Johnson skips TV debate for UK prime ministership
  5. Slovakia's first female president takes office
  6. Irish immigration officers flew back business class
  7. Catalan MEP denied taking seat in European Parliament
  8. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds

Agenda

Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK

A summit in Belgian capital this week will host heads of government and state to discuss top EU institutional posts. But before they meet, the jockeying for the Commission presidency will have already started among the European political groups.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Spain's Garcia set to be next Socialist leader in parliament
  2. Erdogan mocks Macron amid EU sanctions threat
  3. The most dangerous pesticide you've never heard of
  4. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  5. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  6. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  7. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  8. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us