Her active position regarding Ukraine and support in an effort to join the EU make Ms. Harms one of the key leading figures for our country in the reform process. One of the issues she coordinates is “visa-free regime”. In an interview with «Fashionable Diplomacy in Ukraine» Ms. Harms shared her ideas and thoughts that exist in the European Parliament regarding issues and prospects of visa-free regime for Ukraine:
– To what extent is the European Parliament “for” resolving the issue for our country?
– The majority in the European Parliament voted for providing visa-free regime in Ukraine. Ukrainians are with us, we want you: this is the main message of the European Parliament for Ukrainian citizens. As for me, I will always remember the day of voting for this issue, as it is the result of my work for many years. With some like-minded people in the European Parliament we have repeatedly tried to secure visa-free access of Ukrainians to the EU. For the last three years we have seen that it is becoming a reality.
– Do you think Ukrainians feel that Europe really cares about Ukrainian issues?
– Ukrainians… well… sometimes they are disappointed with the EU… sometimes they fall in love with the idea of the EU again… As for me, no matter what Europeans do, Ukrainians are still the ones to decide how to live… this is the main principle and way to democracy.
– Perhaps Ukraine mostly expects money from Europe, and not advice?
– Ukrainians, like many other countries need not only financial, but also political support too. Fair support for positive changes in the country. This is commitment from citizens and states of the EU commitment to the European idea. Europe will also have many benefits of sustainable democratic development in Ukraine. Especially now, at the time of Russian aggression against Ukraine… Everyone should understand that it concerns security of the entire continent. We should develop Ukraine together, improve our relationships. Democratic state in the Eastern Europe is guarantee of security first of all for the EU.
– Is there a clear understanding, that Ukraine is the guardian of European peace, in Europe?
– It is very difficult to say, but the number of people, who understand it much better, is increasing…
– Ordinary citizens or politicians?
– Ordinary citizens and politicians… Our society is aware of the danger to the continent since Mr. Putin has again made Russia a very aggressive nation.
– Visa free regime – supposedly it has been waited for a long time, and it seems to be approved so suddenly…
– It was not sudden. Visa-free regime is a long process. Ukraine worked on a long list of conditions (over 140). Visa-free regime will come in July this year because Ukrainians deserve it – they fulfilled the requirements. Both Europe and Ukraine, and the entire continent will benefit from greater contact between people, greater exchange between our citizens, because it is the foundation. What is visafree regime aimed at? To have freedom of movement not only for political and economic elite, but for everyone.
– Is the introduction of visa-free regime the recognition of Europe that Ukraine is not a threat for Europe?
– The EU would make a huge mistake if people considered Ukraine a risk. Ukraine is a huge opportunity, because it is the biggest EU neighboring country in the east, this is a nation full of talented multifaceted people, citizens who want to work, to contribute to development of the European family. So, as for me, it would be a huge nonsense, if people saw risk in this visa-free regime. Vice versa! This will open up new opportunities for Europe in general and in particular for Ukraine!