The Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) on 26 September 2016 passed a report which recommended waiving visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens entering the Schengen area. In its opinion on the visa-free regime with Ukraine, the EP’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) called for Ukraine to be granted a visa-free regime ‘without any further delays, in recognition of the progress the country has achieved on its European path since the Euromaidan protests’. On 17 November, the Permanent Representatives Committee confirmed, on behalf of the Council, the April 2016 Commission proposal to provide for visa-free travel for Ukrainians to the EU, along with a new ‘suspension mechanism’, an emergency brake in case visa-free travel is abused by non-EU nationals. This will form the basis for negotiations with the EP.
On 29 October, Elmar Brok, Chair of the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee, and Andriy Parubiy, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, called for the swift completion of the visa liberalisation process in time for the Euromaidan anniversary on 21 November.
On 17 November 2016, the LIBE Committee backed an Agreement on Operational and Strategic Cooperation between Ukraine and Europol (2016/0811(CNS)), following the recommendation in the report of Mariya Gabriel (EPP, Bulgaria). The plenary vote is planned for 22 November.
Members of a delegation of the European Parliament’s Security and Defence Subcommittee (SEDE), led by its chair Anna Fotyga (ECR, Poland), conducted a field trip to eastern Ukraine on 4-11 November 2016. Members of the delegation met with the Governor of the Donetsk Oblast, Anti-Terrorist Operations staff officers and the representatives of the OSCE’s SMM in Kramatorsk. During their trip, the MEPs condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea, and urged all relevant EU institutions to make visa liberalisation a reality for the citizens of Ukraine.