Ukrainian president says there's no threat to EU visa-free travel / Photo from UNIAN
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says there is no threat to visa-free travel between Ukraine and the European Union.
"[There are] all the prerequisites for an industrial visa-free regime, an agreement on a Common Aviation Area [CAA] with the EU, the deeper integration of Ukrainian markets into European ones, as well as a clear message: there is no threat to visa-free travel between Ukraine and Europe, no matter what they say. This also concerns cooperation with the International Monetary Fund, which we continue, as is the case with the World Bank or the EBRD [the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development]," he told members of the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, during an annual State of the Nation Address on October 20, an UNIAN correspondent reported.
According to Zelensky, Ukraine has made tangible progress in implementing the Association Agreement with the EU.
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- On August 21, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova signed an order to dismiss Deputy Prosecutor General and Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAPO) chief Nazar Kholodnytsky, endorsing his resignation.
- On September 17, the Verkhovna Rada appointed parliamentary members to the commission to select a new SAPO chief: Olena Busol, Andriy Hudzhal, Oleksiy Drozd, Kateryna Koval, Bohdan Romaniuk, Viacheslav Navrotsky, and Yevhen Sobol.
- The European Parliament's Rapporteur for Ukraine, Michael Gahler, and the Vice-Chair of Delegation to the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, expressed concern over the Verkhovna Rada's move.
- "<…> Ukraine's government is hastily pushing candidates lacking experience and integrity to select SAPO head. This will not fly. Ukraine's government is jeopardizing visa-free with the EU and further trance of EUR1.5 billion assistance," Viola von Cramon-Taubadel wrote on Twitter on September 17.
- The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv also commented on the developments. "The U.S. and the EU take note of the Rada decision to appoint members to the commission to choose the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor. The commission needs to embark on a transparent process with candidates' integrity and merits at its core. Our further support will depend upon it," the Embassy wrote on Facebook on September 17.
- In turn, First Deputy Foreign Minister Emine Dzhaparova says Ukraine's Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not see any grounds for the European Union's revising visa-free travel with Ukraine.