EU Ambassador to Ukraine: Visa-Free Travel Regime is Threatened by Corruption

The potential visa-free regime between the EU and Ukraine, as well as financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund and EU will largely depend on Ukraine’s ongoing fight against corruption, according to Matti Maasikas, EU Ambassador to Ukraine, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine.

On 13 November 2020, Maasikas made the statements on Twitter responding to an article from the Economist titled ‘Ukraine’s constitutional court attacks anti-corruption laws.’

“Ukraine’s economic stability is bolstered by a US$5 bln loan from the IMF. It stands to get another EUR 1.2 bln in aid from the EU (as well as continuing to enjoy visa-free travel in it). Both organizations make their assistance conditional on fighting corruption,” Maasikas’s post reads.

The Ukrainian government has long struggled with corruption that has stifled the country’s progress in many areas.

The Ukrainian government has been fighting corruption since President Zelensky won the presidency in 2019, running on an anti-corruption platform.

For several months, the country and the EU have had talks on establishing a visa-free regime between the two parties, enabling citizens of either party to visit the other without having to first acquire a visa.

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the Ukrainian economy has spiraled downward, leaving the country in need of assistance and investment from larger bodies such as the EU, however, the main concern for EU officials to give money to Ukraine is that it might not be allocated towards the intended areas due to internal governmental corruption. As of writing this article, Ukraine has not yet responded to Ambassador Maasikas’s statements.

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