Foreign minister: Not possible to lift visa-free rules for Ukrainians

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu Source: Jarno Kuusinen/Prime Minister's Office, Finland

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said in response to Interior Minister Mart Helme's (EKRE) plans to lift the visa-waiver for Ukrainians that it was neither possible nor in Estonia's interest and recommended that police be used to prevent abuse.

"The unilateral abolition of visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens by the Republic of Estonia is neither reasonable nor legally possible," Reinsalu (Isamaa) said in a comment sent to ERR. 

"Apart from Ukraine's fulfillment of objective conditions, this decision was clearly a political move by the European Union and its withdrawal is in no way in line with our interest in supporting Ukraine's integration into the European Union," Reinsalu (Isamaa) said.

Helme, the chairman of the Estonian Conservative People's Party, wrote in a news article that he had asked lawyers to investigate the possibility of unilaterally lifting visa-free travel with Ukraine, as he believes Estonia was under migratory pressure from the east.

Helme added that he is also working on removing the immigration exemptions and redesigning the current rules on temporary agency work.

"In order to work, Ukrainian citizens need a work visa, and most Ukrainians who come here will come here on the basis of visas, not visa-free. Abuse of visa-related issued must be dealt with by police authorities and it is necessary to get into the house once, "Foreign Minister Reinsalu emphasized.

Center Party Minister for Education and Research Mailis Reps confirmed to the ERR on Wednesday that the government has never discussed the issue of visa-free travel for Ukrainians.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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