Ukraine and Georgia may be granted visa-free travel to the EU already before Spring, the EU’s Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said. In an interview with Sputnik, German leftwing MP Wolfgang Gehrcke said that Russia deserved a similar status.
Wolfgang Gehrcke criticized the practice of using visas to either reward or punish countries “gone wrong.“
He added that granting visa-free travel to Ukraine would hardly encourage Kiev to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict in Donbass.
Leif-Erik Holm, chairman of the Alternative for Germany Party’s branch in Mecklenburg-Upper Pomerania, does not like the idea of lifting visas for Ukraine and Georgia.
“I don‘t think that introducing a visa-free regime with highly unstable countries is the right way to go, especially now that we see a major influx of migrants from the Middle East,“ Holm told Sputnik Germany. “This is something that could be done in the long run when these countries become democratic and stable, but not right now,“ he added. Wolfgang Gehrcke disagreed, arguing that with the visa regime lifted there will be more migrant laborers pouring into Germany and further on into other European countries. “We have thoroughly analyzed this issue at our Foreign Affairs Committee and concluded that there is no reason whatsoever for this. The decision to grant [Ukraine and Georgia] visa-free travel is a political one meant to show them that they are our friends. This is not right,” he emphasized. Wolfgang Gehrcke added that talks on lifting visas should be preceded by an agreement based on the Minsk accords, because a visa free-status for Kiev would automatically apply to those living in Ukraine’s war-torn eastern region of Donbass.