of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine
Leaders of the Coalition Factions
Heads of the VRU Committees
Abolition of Short-Term Visas Shall Not Be Delayed By Political Games or Committees’ Passivity
The mission to assess the state of implementation of the EU Action Plan on Visa Liberalization has been working in Ukraine since early September. Final results will be presented to our European partners after December 20, 2015. We still have a good chance to have short-term visas (up to 90 days of stay in the EU countries) abolished for the Ukrainian citizens. Only two factors can ruin it: politicization of Parliament’s work after the local election, and the parliamentary committees’ neglect of their duties (both by heads and committee members).
As of October 27, 2015, the Parliament is to consider 12 draft laws. Their adoption will create a legal framework to fulfill top-priority tasks of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalization (see Appendix). Nine of these draft laws need profile committee’s opinions. There should have been no problems with these opinions, as, in accordance with the parliamentary schedule, the past two weeks have been dedicated to the work in committees. Unfortunately, the situation leaves little room for optimism – all nine draft laws are still being reviewed.
Therefore, experts of the Reanimation Package of Reforms welcome the fact that the Сommittees on Сorruption Prevention and Counteraction (chaired by Yehor Soboliev), on Foreign Affairs (chaired by Hanna Hopko), on Human Rights, National Minorities and Interethnic Relations (chaired by Hryhoriy Nemyria), and on Social Policy, Employment, and Pension Provision (chaired by Liudmyla Denysova) held meetings to put on the agenda the draft laws necessary for the implementation of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalization. We hope that the Committee on Budget (chaired by Andriy Pavelko) will put on its agenda the issue of budgetary support of the National Agency of Ukraine for the Investigation and Disposal of Assets Derived from Corruption and Other Crimes (the issue has not been put on the agenda yet, but the committee’s meeting has been scheduled).
We are disturbed by the fact that the Сommittees on Legislative Support of Law Enforcement (headed by Andriy Kozhemiakin) and on Legal Policy and Justice (headed by Ruslan Kniazevych) have not scheduled any meetings during the committee week. These committees shall consider five out of twelve draft laws required for the implementation of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalization. We call on Mr. Kozhemiakin and Mr. Kniazevych not to put off the committee meetings until the plenary week, put aside political confrontations, hold committee meetings, and prepare the draft laws for parliamentary consideration. These committees used to complain about the quality of the draft laws prepared by the MPs, but we are sure that having two more weeks, it is possible to fix all the issues and submit well-prepared draft laws to the Parliament.
It is absolutely real and possible to abolish short-term visas for Ukrainians. It just needs putting aside political fights and focusing on work. More than forty million Ukrainians shall not become victims of either political confrontations, or inability of several persons to organize proper activity of the parliamentary committees.