EU migration crisis could affect the introduction of visa-free regime between the 28-nation bloc and Ukraine, Head of the Mission of Ukraine to the European Union Mykola Tochytskyi said Friday.
“There is an additional challenge that cannot be ignored by the Council of the European Union and [EU] member states — migration crisis… This is a force majeure, which has emerged. Of course, several European states would like to shield themselves from migration from the Middle Eastern and African countries. Unfortunately, this can also influence the timeframe of making a decision about Ukraine,” Tochytskyi said in an interview with Evropeyskaya pravda (“European truth”) news website, answering a question about factors that hinder the abolition of EU visas for Ukrainian citizens.
He added that at the same time Kiev had already fulfilled all EU demands for visa liberalization.
Last December, the European Commission gave a positive assessment of Ukraine successfully meeting all benchmark requirements necessary for the liberalization of the visa regime with the bloc. In April, the European Commission made a proposal to the European Council and the European Parliament to add Ukraine to the list of countries the citizens of which could travel to the Schengen Area without visas.
Europe has been beset by a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of undocumented migrants fleeing their crisis-torn countries of origin in the Middle East and North Africa to escape violence and poverty.