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Visa-Free Regime for Ukraine? 'Another Kind of Danger Europe Will Have to Face'

© AP Photo / Alik KepliczAn Ukrainian car enters the European Union on the Polish Ukrainian border in Korczowa, southeast Poland (File)
An Ukrainian car enters the European Union on the Polish Ukrainian border in Korczowa, southeast Poland (File) - Sputnik International
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The European Parliament has approved a mechanism that would allow for the implementation of visa-free regimes with Ukraine and Georgia. The corresponding decision was made by the majority of MEP's earlier in the day.

Nevertheless, it is too early for residents of these countries to jump for joy as EU lawmakers still must vote on the issue next year. One of the main reasons which might urge European politicians to change their mind is the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, experts claim.

"There is not much improvement [in Ukraine] as both sides are still very hostile to each other. And apart from the warfare, there are a lot of criminal activities which normally happen in such troubled areas. I don't know how Europe is going to handle this. This is another kind of danger Europe will have to face," Dennis Schedrivy, Ukrainian activist and blogger, told Radio Sputnik.

According to the expert, the cancellation of a visa free regime for Ukrainian nationals could result in another immigration crisis for European countries. The EU, which has been struggling to cope with the massive inflow of Middle Eastern refugees for over a year, might prove incapable of bearing another burden of that kind.

"We have literally thousands of thousands of people who have been to war, who have combat experience and who are not very reliable citizens in terms of their criminal inclinations or social skills. These people might well just decide and go explore Europe. This will be like another immigration crisis for the EU," the expert said.

Flags of Ukraine and the European Union in Kiev - Sputnik International
EU Parliament to Approve Ukraine Visa-Free Regime Suspension Mechanism Next Week
Maciej Wisniowski, chief editor of the portal Strajk.eu, also believes that the vote of the European Parliament on the visa-free regime suspension mechanism may have drastic consequences for the EU and Ukraine itself, in particular in terms of economy and employment.

"Allowing citizens to freely leave the country, devastated by war, could lead to the rapid outflow of labor from the labor market and social consequences associated with the possible departure of the country's most mobile and working-age population," Wisniowski told Sputnik Polska.

A similar point of view was expressed by Czech MP Denek Ondracek who believes that the European Parliament "has made a big mistake."

"I fear that this decision will set in motion the 43 million people of Ukraine. Attracted by the possibility of a visa-free entry, a large number of Ukrainians will want to solve their difficult economic situation, by moving to Europe," the politician told Sputnik Cecka republica.

European Union flags in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels. (File) - Sputnik International
Turkey Yet to Implement 7 Conditions to Achieve Visa-Free Regime With EU
Although, according to Ondracek, the Czech Republic is experiencing a shortage of qualified personnel and Ukrainian migrants can partially satisfy this need, the inflow of Ukrainian migrants to Europe will be a serious challenge to the European labor market.

"A company will always prefer to hire a Ukrainian, simply because it can pay him less. Thus, the European Parliament has sent the qualified Czech workforce a very bad signal," the politician added.

At the same time, head of the Ukrainian Analytical Center "Third Sector" Andrei Zolotarev believes that Ukraine is likely to be granted a visa-free regime in the near future, but "on humiliating conditions."

"They will be similar to those in case of Moldova. For example, on the border, citizens of Moldova must show their hotel bookings and documents confirming that they have sufficient finances. Sometimes, border officers do not let Moldovan citizens pass the border without giving any further explanations, So, I don't think we can't talk about any landmark event here," the expert said

On July 7, the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs recommended to grant visa-free travel to the residents of Ukraine, Georgia and Kosovo, a move that serves as a proof of the inconsistency of the EU visa policy.

This is particularly evident in the case of Turkey, another country striving for liberalization of its visa-regime with the EU.
Turkey submitted its EU membership application in 1998 (18 years ago), but talks started only in 2005. Negotiations on Turkish EU membership have been repeatedly suspended due to the Cyprus dispute and Turkey's record of denying freedom of the press, among other obstacles.

A European Union (L) and Turkish flag fly outside a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey, May 4, 2016. - Sputnik International
Brussels Hinders Turkey’s Accession to EU - Turkish Deputy Parliament Speaker
In mid-March, the European Union agreed to intensify talks in exchange for Turkish agreement to help reduce the flow of migrants to Europe, however, the subject has not yet been resolved.

The fact that the EU prefers to grant visa-free regime to a war- torn country like Ukraine, and has been suspending the same decision in case of Turkey for almost two decades, raises questions about the double-standards of its foreign policy.

"We can clearly see that the European Parliament, decided to abolish visas for Ukraine only to expand its influence and achieve strategic superiority over Russia, despite the fact that Ukraine has not fulfilled all necessary conditions. Making this decision, the EP was not interested whether Ukraine fulfilled the relevant conditions or not. It was rather guided by the fact that the later agreed to be under economic, political and cultural control of the West to counterbalance Russia," Turkish MP from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Cahit Ozkan, told Sputnik Turkey.

As a pretext to deny the introduction of a visa-regime for Turkey, the EU cited the reaction of the Turkish government to the recent coup attempt that took place in the country in Summer 2016. Commenting on numerous arrests in the aftermath of the coup, European politicians stated that Turkey "is moving in the wrong direction."

However, Ozkan views the situation in a different way.

"Turkey was deprived of the opportunity to qualify for visa concessions from the EU, because it acted in defense of its rights to political sovereignty and state integrity. Well, Ukraine, as we can see, has been given such a chance. This step can be viewed as a reward for the fact that Ukraine has recognized Western control over itself," the expert concluded.

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