- Published: 22.05.2015.
PM Milanovic: I called for cancelling visa requirements for Ukraine and Georgia as soon as possible because
Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic said in Riga on Friday that a summit of European Union leaders and their eastern neighbours ended with "thin results" because visa requirements for Georgian and Ukrainian citizens were not liberalised.
"The European Commission is setting some bureaucratic criteria and had they treated us like that, we wouldn't have been able to leave Croatia during the war. I called for cancelling visa requirements for Ukraine and Georgia as soon as possible because those countries, at least when it comes to that, represent no risk and people should be enabled to travel freely, while everything else is in the hands of the big powers," Milanovic told reporters at the end of a two-day summit between the EU and the six countries of its Eastern Partnership - Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Milanovic said the EU should offer those countries more and that their EU integration would be long and difficult.
"You can see how long it took Croatia and how tougher its negotiations were than for all those before it. How will it be for Georgia and Ukraine? Because of the difficult situation they are in, we must constantly give them a hand, not a carrot," he said, adding that the summit constantly stressed that the Eastern Partnership was not directed against Russia.
Milanovic also held talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili. Milanovic said he and Poroshenko "talked about mutual visits, and discussed cooperation in quite detail ... Together with several other prime ministers, I called for cancelling visas because I think that without that, the result of this summit is thin."
He said Georgia was on the sea like Croatia, a country that worked hard and had made huge progress. "It is in a distant part of Europe and, like Ukraine, has a territorial problem with Russia over South Ossetia. In any case, they deserve our attention and help."