Wanky posed photos of girls at rallies won’t do it, buster – RB
EU to propose visa-free travel for Ukraine despite Dutch vote
Paul Taylor, Reuters, Apr 10 2016
The European Commission will propose this month granting visa-free travel to Ukrainians despite a Dutch referendum vote against an EU-Ukraine agreement partly motivated by hostility to migration, a senior EU source said. Commission President J-C Juncker promised Poroshenko in March that the EU executive would put forward the eagerly awaited proposal in April, offering Ukrainians the most tangible benefit of closer ties at a time when a free trade deal has not yet borne fruit for their economy. The source said (suggesting the offer was illegal in the first place):
It may look as if we’re ignoring the Dutch voters, but we have to keep our word to Ukraine, which has met the conditions.
The proposal must be approved by a qualified majority of EU member states and by the European Parliament to take effect. The source said the Commission would include some form of safeguard enabling EU countries to reinstate visas temporarily in case of a surge of migration. Ukraine has a population of some 45 million. Russia’s 2013 annexation of Crimea and the fighting in eastern Ukraine has not so far led to a large exodus from the country, EU officials note (except for a million refugees in Russia – RB). The Dutch voted by 61% last week in a non-binding referendum called by Eurosceptics to reject the association agreement. The turnout was just over the 30% required for the result to be valid. Dutch PM Rutte said the government could not proceed with ratification of the deal which the other 27 EU countries have already approved, and which has provisionally entered into force. The EU Commission said it was up to Dutch leaders to reflect on the vote and suggest a way forward. Ukraine is not the only country awaiting visa-free travel. EU leaders have promised to speed up visa liberalisation for Turkey, aiming for agreement by late June if Ankara meets the many conditions. The Commission is also working on a politically sensitive proposal to extend it to Kosovo.