In July 2016 the European Union Committee of Foreign Affairs voted to recommend that parliament abolish visa requirements for entry to the European Union from the countries of Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo. The agreement is to cover short term travel to the Schengen zone. However, it has been announced that there is no mention of this in the plenary sessions for mid November as was hoped so it seems that the agreement will be delayed. It had been hoped that vote could have been take before the EU-Ukraine summit due to take place on 24th November.
Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and trade has criticised the delay saying that it is inadmissible that the visa free travel has not yet been granted.
The Foreign Minister went on to say that the Ukraine had fulfilled all the necessary conditions for the arrangement and that the stance taken by the European Union was “unsportsmanlike and non-European.”
Hungary has long been a supporter of the Ukraine in their attempts to become more integrated into the EU.
France and Belgium had already voiced their concerns over the level of Ukraine’s anti corruption efforts although it is not clear whether this has been instrumental in the delay of getting the agreement into the plenary sessions. The decision is a blow to Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko who had already been vocal about his confidence that the agreement would be in place before the summit on 24th November.
“I can even say by what date this will be done – by November 24. Because on November 24, the Ukraine-EU Summit will take place and we agreed that the documents will be ready for that Summit,” he said only a few weeks ago.
This is the second delay to proceedings as it was expected to be discussed during the last session during 24th-27th October.