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Arsen Avakov: Ukraine will do everything possible to speed up the process of liberalization of visa regime with EU countries (PHOTOS)

10th February 2017, 15:17

On February 10th, 2017, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov met with the Federal Minister of Internal Affairs of Germany Thomas de Maizière.  During the meeting the parties discussed introduction of a visa-free regime for Ukraine and urgent issues of further cooperation between law enforcement bodies of two countries.

They have also discussed the joint fight against the smuggling of weapons, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and other products to the EU across the western border of Ukraine.  Arsen Avakov stressed that the MIA was ready to work closely with the German side in the fight against terrorism, particularly in the context of the recent terrorist attack perpetrated on Christmas Eve in Berlin, when a citizen of Ukraine and his wife have been killed.

"This incident is another proof that we can become a target for terrorists at any time and in any place.  Thus, I would like to reiterate our commitment to full cooperation in this sphere", - stated the Minister.

The agreement between Ukraine and Europol, which was signed last year, will contribute to the improvement of cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in the fight against all kinds of criminal and terrorist activities.  The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine is already cooperating with Germany within the framework of the bilateral intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the fight against organized crime and terrorism.

"Ukraine has already concluded an agreement with Europol on the exchange of operational databases.  We have also negotiated with the German side to sign the Agreement on the exchange of operational information in the bilateral format "Germany-Ukraine", - said Arsen Avakov.

This, he added, would help the law enforcement agencies of both countries in their fight against organized crime and terrorism, and also contribute to the stabilization of the situation with the illegal migration.

Due to the  measures that have been taken by both countries the number of asylum seekers from Ukraine in Germany in 2016 has declined significantly and has accounted for a small fraction of the total number of migrants.  The Federal Minister of Internal Affairs of Germany Thomas de Maizière urged the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov to take all necessary measures to ensure that Ukrainian citizens would not misuse their right to visa-free entry to the EU in the future.

"We understand that you have made every effort to fulfill all conditions for visa-free regime, but the EU has some experience with the migration of citizens of the Balkan countries after they had received the right for a visa-free entry.  First of all, we have to agree upon all the contradictions and create a clear mechanism in the EU for temporary suspension of the visa-free regime for third countries.  I hope that in the near future we will be able to complete this process and proceed to the vote for the provision of a visa-free regime for Ukraine", - stated Thomas de Maizière.

The head of the MIA of Ukraine assured that his ministry keeps this issue under control.  Taking into account the concerns of Europe's population in relation to the increase in the number of terrorist attacks and illegal migration, the MIA of Ukraine is ready to support the implementation of the European system similar to the Electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA), which operates in the United States.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine is also ready to introduce an additional system of the facial control and recognition through intelligent video cameras at border crossings.

"We understand your concern and we share it. That is why we are trying to take all measures to analyze the situation and prevent the emergence of risks in advance in order for Ukraine to achieve its goal - to obtain a visa-free regime with the EU.  We hope that Germany will support the early adoption of the relevant decision of the EU institutions ", - said the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine.

In addition, Arsen Avakov thanked officials of the German Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs for the active cooperation and assistance to the MIA of Ukraine in reforming the Ukrainian law enforcement system.

In the near future a project is planned to start for cooperation in the field of video surveillance and the use of so-called video-eyes - «body cams».  Ukraine is ready to share with the German colleagues its experience in the implementation of video-eyes.  It is important because Germany plans to introduce mobile video cameras (body cams) that the policemen on duty wear on their uniform.   The Federal Police is now completing the test period of the use of «body cams» in Bavaria.

Department of communication of MIA-Ukraine