In its Second Progress Report on the implementation by Ukraine of the Action Plan on Visa Liberalization, released Monday in Brussels, the European Commission mentions progress Ukraine made regarding four principal areas the Ukrainian side has undertaken obligations.

"Limited progress was achieved in the area of document security. The legal framework for the issuing of machine-readable biometric international passports, in full compliance with the highest International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) standards regarding secure identity management, has not been completed. The Action Plan and the Programme for the complete roll-out of ICAO-compliant biometric passports and the complete phasing out of non-ICAOcompliant passports have still to be adopted. An important first step has already been taken, as noted in the First Progress Report, regarding breeder documents, with the adoption of the Regulation on the State Registration Service of Ukraine," the report says.

Regarding the area of border management the Commission notes that all the necessary laws are in place along with the institutional framework, including provision of training and ethical codes to fight corruption. At the same time the report says more efforts are needed to strengthen inter-agency cooperation in the area of border management.

"With regard to migration management, Ukraine has in a very short time adopted the legislative framework and established an institutional framework for migration management and for the implementation of migration policy, providing a good basis for an effective migration management policy. However, it is necessary to take additional actions (adoption of additional rules, by-laws and regulations). There are some gaps in the development of the comprehensive National Migration Management Strategy. It should bring more consistency to the individual efforts made by various agencies and is important for the comprehensive policy approach towards migration management.

In the area of asylum, there is a solid legislative basis, mostly in line with the European and international standards. However, some important provisions require modification, and there is a need to align the provisions in other related laws with the new legislation, and to adopt appropriate by-laws."

The Commission also welcomes some further progress Ukraine has made in adopting the required legislative framework in the area of public order and security.

"The legislative framework on combating organised crime is in place. Regarding the policy framework, the Strategy was adopted in October 2011 whereas the accompanying Action Plan is not yet in place. The Action Plan should include a realistic timeframe, clearly identified responsible actors, a budget, human resources, performance indicators and a monitoring process including all relevant stakeholders.

The legislative framework on combating trafficking in human beings was recently put in place with the adoption of the framework law in September 2011. It needs to be urgently accompanied by the relevant Action Plan which should include a realistic timeframe, clearly identified responsible actors, a budget, human resources, performance indicators and a monitoring process covering all relevant stakeholders.

Limited progress was made in the fight against corruption. A first step has been taken with the adoption of the law on the principles of preventing and combating corruption and the law on amendments to several legislative acts concerning liability for corruption offences, in force since July 2011. However, overall, the legislation adopted remains incomplete and in some respects ambiguous, and still fails to fully comply with the requirements of the relevant Council of Europe and UN instruments. There are still important GRECO recommendations from the joint first and second evaluation rounds which have not been followed up," the document reads.

According to the estimation by the EC, Ukraine made some progress in the area of external relations and fundamental rights. It drafted and adopted several important amendments to its legislation aimed at removing unjustified obstacles to freedom of movement within Ukraine. Further legislative work is required in order to insert effective provisions on human rights and fundamental freedoms into the national legislation. The legal framework also requires revision to ensure respect for the right to fair, impartial and transparent legal proceedings.

"The ratification by Ukraine of most of the relevant international conventions, and enshrining their values as principles in the Constitution, is not sufficient in itself. Effective implementation of those principles requires the adoption of special legislation, as well as the harmonisation of existing legislation with the provisions of treaties and international conventions ratified. However, the effective implementation of the benchmarks should be achieved through primary legislation. Secondary legislation should be confined to further implementing the law. In this context, one outstanding problem is that Ukraine has not yet adopted comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in order to ensure effective protection against all forms of discrimination," the document summarized the achievements. 

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