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EU demands more reforms from Ukraine to lift visa barrier

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Staff writer ▼ | November 21, 2013
While the lead-up to the Vilnius Eastern partnership summit has focused on a mooted EU-Ukraine association agreement, another subject that is dear to Ukrainians will be discussed, free movement across the European Union.
Ukraine
UkraineWhile the lead-up to the Vilnius Eastern partnership summit has focused on a mooted EU-Ukraine association agreement, another subject that is dear to Ukrainians will be discussed, free movement across the European Union.


Ukrainians currently need to get visas to visit the European Union, sometimes having to wait in humiliating queues at EU embassies for days at a time. As many have family members within the EU, frequent trips can become an ordeal, reports EurActiv.

Ukraine was the first Eastern partnership country to launch a "visa liberalisation dialogue" with the EU, in 2008. Five years later, the country "has made substantial progress", the European Commission says but key conditions have yet to be fulfilled.

In particular, Ukraine is supposed to make substantial changes to its anti-discrimination legislation in order to be granted visa free travel for its citizens but the EU has in the past failed to show strong conditionality on this issue.

The most politically sensitive of them is granting explicit legal protection to gay, lesbians, bi- and transsexuals (LGBT) against discrimination. Kyiv also needs to reverse the burden of proof in its legislation to give victims adequate protection.

If Ukraine does not bring its legislation on LGBT up to EU standards, many Ukrainian nationals could ask for asylum in EU member states, claiming that they are discriminated against in their country.


 

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