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Friday, January 19, 2018

“In June Ukraine will receive a visa-free regime with the EU”

On the first after a two-week holiday session of the Verkhovna Rada deputies adopted the last bill necessary for abolition of visas with the European Union. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is sure that in 2016, his fellow citizens can freely travel to Europe. However, the Ukrainian leader once again lost it… In the same day it became aware of several pitfalls on the way to the cherished dream.

photo: Natalia Gubernatorova

Petro Poroshenko

Tuesday 278 people’s deputies voted for the bill on amendments to the rules of declaring by officials of their property, income, expenses and obligations of financial nature. Now all Ukrainian officials and MPs must disclose this information no later than 60 days after the entry into force of the law.

If a person tries to hide data about themselves in the amount of from 100 to 250 minimum wages (6078-15196 dollars), he will be fined for the sum from 1 to 2,5 thousand non-taxable minimum incomes of citizens (60784-151961 dollars). But if the officer or Deputy will try to hide something more expensive, it will be fined in the amount from 2.5 to 3 thousand minimum salaries (151961-182353 dollars), or forced to do community service for a term of 150 to 240 hours, or put you in jail for 2 years and will be deprived of the right to hold public office for the next 3 years after release.

This law the Ukrainian deputies had already taken 16 of February, but then, according to the European Union, the document was too vague and came into force only in 2017, so Poroshenko was forced to veto it.

“Parliament has done all that the Ukrainians were able to travel to Europe without visas this year,” said the President of Ukraine immediately after the re-vote. However, this time his joy was not long.

Unanimity of deputies came to an end, as soon as it came to the consideration of bills on the inevitability of punishment for corruption and the confiscation of their dishonestly acquired property. In particular, the document provides for the acceleration of the investigation of corruption crimes and the prevention of delay of judicial processes in such cases. On the morning of 15 March, MPs refused to include them in the agenda.

After lunch, the group members twice tried to re-submit them for consideration, but all to no avail. In particular, this means that the property of the people participating in corrupt schemes of the former President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, cannot be confiscated, and the money they have stolen will not return to the Ukrainian budget. It is characteristic that blocked the law, all those deputies that two years ago, spoke from the rostrum of the Maidan to overthrow the “rotten through corruption of the regime.” By itself, this fact will not affect the EU decision on visa-free regime, but the pace of fighting corruption in the country would say a lot. No wonder the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker recently stated that in the next 20-25 years Ukraine will not be able to join the EU.

In addition to this “happy” news on the night of March 15 was blocked by the competition for the election of members of the National Commission for prevention of corruption (NCRC). As told the head of the Board of Transparency International Ukraine Andriy marusov, a conflict has arisen around the candidacy of the former Deputy Minister of justice Ruslan Ryaboshapka. Three voting for it and three against. Marusov himself believes that the reason for this split personal hostility between the I. Ryaboshapka and members of the election Commission. As a result to choose the next participant it was decided until the evening of March 15.

On Thursday Poroshenko, along with four members of NCRC approved and endorsed by the anti-corruption law should go to Brussels. While in the Commission there are only two person is a Deputy Nacholibre Alexander Skopich and fellow of the Academy of advocacy at the GPU Natalia Korchak. Two shall elect by Wednesday, otherwise to fly to Europe with.

About the chances of Ukraine on visa-free regime with the EU “MK” asked Denis DENISOV, Director of the Ukrainian branch of the CIS Institute:

– Probably in June Ukraine will receive a visa-free regime with the EU, but with a number of limitations. First, Ukrainians will not be able to travel to Europe for an indefinite period. Most likely, the concessions will only apply to short term tourist trip. During the crisis of refugees from Syria is hardly Europe will give millions of Ukrainians work visas. However, according to the official data of Ukraine in the current conditions, only 4% of Ukrainians can afford to travel to the Eurozone, for the rest of the country’s population visa-free travel will remain suspended as a carrot. As for the Verkhovna Rada rejected the bills, according to opinion polls, Ukrainians believe the current government is even more corrupt than it was under Yanukovych. But new Maidan in the foreseeable future will not, because propaganda works at a high level, and lead the protest to no one.

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