Is Ukraine ready for visa-free travel?

Ukrainians may be able to travel to EU countries without a visa as soon as this summer. The EU Parliament has passed the corresponding legislation and now it only needs the formal approval of the EU member states. Some commentators question whether Ukraine fulfils the criteria for such a step. Others point out that the EU can still pull the emergency brake if necessary.

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Diena (LV) /

Stable only on paper

It is unlikely that Ukraine actually fulfils the requirements for visa-free travel, Diena comments:

“Even if the official handshakes confirm that there have been major advances in reforming the state structures and battling corruption, behind the scenes people are objecting that the fight against corruption isn't going smoothly even at the highest levels. The separatists in eastern Ukraine still exist and influence life in the country. And levels of corruption are evaluated differently depending on who's doing the talking. For that reason there is a risk that only the people who don't need them will be issued secure biometric passports, and that those who deserve them won't get them.”

Die Welt (DE) /

Vote of confidence with an emergency brake

Visa-free travel is a double-edged sword, Die Welt explains:

“Travelling and the freedom of movement have become something like a human right in the West (just think of 1989). For these Central Eastern Europeans they're an explicit sign that they belong to Europe, which the younger generation in particular is enthusiastic about. ... But because times are hard and Europe is going through a massive migration crisis of threatening proportions, the EU has given itself - has had to give itself - an emergency brake. If it comes to unambiguous abuse of this freedom of movement - which can only mean illegal migration and employment - the EU has reserved the right to suspend the regulation. But it needn't come to that: the Ukrainians will see to it that it doesn't.”