May 27, 2014 -
The European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmström has issued a statement applauding visa liberalization dialogues in the Ukraine, which includes document security and biometrics.
At the moment, Eastern Ukraine is in turmoil and control of the Crimean Peninsula between Russia and Ukraine has led to significant violence in the region.
Malmström’s statements are unrelated to these events in East Ukraine.
“Ukraine’s path towards visa liberalization is moving ahead. Over the past few months the Ukrainian authorities have made important efforts to put in place the necessary legislative, policy and institutional framework and fulfil the first-phase requirements of our visa dialogue,” Malmström said. “I can already say that on the basis of our analysis, the legislation passed and other measures adopted are sufficient to consider that Ukraine has been able to meet the first stage benchmarks of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan and I suggest to my colleagues in the Commission that we move to the 2nd phase, where we will be checking the implementation of all these rules. This assessment will be reflected in the Commission’s next report, which is to be adopted shortly.”
For context, the mobility of citizens throughout the EU is a core objective of the Eastern Partnership. According to a report in EUReporter.co, the EU carries out visa liberalization dialogues with interested partner countries, such as Ukraine.
These dialogues and action plans are specific to each country and are based on four core pillars, including: document security and biometrics; integrated border management, asylum; public order and security; as well as external relations and fundamental rights.
“I welcome and appreciate these efforts and the political commitment of the Ukrainian government. The recent adoption by the Ukrainian Parliament of laws in the fields of document security, asylum, anti-corruption, anti-discrimination and data protection, as well as other measures, aimed to address the outstanding issues identified by the Commission in its last progress report. This is a significant achievement, an important step in the process that will bring the country closer to its goal of visa free regime with the EU. But the hard work is not over,” Malmstrom said in the report. “Ukraine will need to demonstrate that all these rules are thoroughly implemented, in particular on discrimination where we await the full completion of the reform of the protection framework. The Commission will continue to provide assistance with a view to ensure a concrete and comprehensive track record of the implementation.”
The EU-Ukraine visa liberalization dialogue was launched in 2008.
Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, biometrics has been a particular focus for politicians and lawmakers in the Ukraine. In 2012, parliament discussed the introduction of biometrics, but this has taken some time to get off the ground in the European country, following calls for a veto and other delays.