Europe has built a new iron curtain on the Polish-Ukrainian border. While Ukraine lifted visa requirement for EU nationals back in 2005, most of the Ukrainians still have to go through humiliating procedure of visa application, interviewing and, yet, about 20% of the Ukrainians get refused their chance to visit Europe’s Schengen zone or any of the individual EU member states.
What is it that makes Europe so afraid of letting Ukrainians in? Some still remaining cold-war fear? Or, is it the perception of Ukraine’s historic status of a buffer-zone which had protected Europe from barbarian invasions? Or is it the shame that doesn’t let Europeans to acknowledge that Ukrainians’ grandfathers could just continue further west of Berlin in 1945 without any Schengen visas when they were giving their lives to save Europe from fascism?
A German IT proffessional visiting Kiev is pointing out that he feels that Ukraine’s capital is more European than any of the EU’s capitals which have been swapped with 2nd, 3td and further waves immigration from Turkey, North Africa and Asia.
Many Europeans have experienced that walking on the Kiev streets late at night is as safe as back in their home towns. Yet, EU is adamant in imposing the level of check up on any Ukrainian wishing to cross the European border as if Ukrainians were causing any troubles in Europe.
Europe itself is cutting Ukraine off its map and its stipulated plan of expansion forgetting once again the role Ukraine had played historically in the Europe’s security and stability. Economic and political protectionism of the EU towards Ukraine is difficult to fathom. The Soviet past seems to be a hard psychological burden for many Europeans while not so many might still remember the history of the World War II and the role Ukraine had played in it beyond the fact that it was part of the USSR.
A Ukrainian enterpreneur who just failed to get his French visa when he wanted to visit Paris as a tourist is packing his suitcase to a much friendlier deistination. Getting a visa to Cuba seemed to be a great welcome form the Island of Freedom compared to the long 4 full days of the application for a French visa, getting the refusal, submitting an appeal and, yet, getting another refusal without any explanation. He’s saying that he would never apply for a European visa again and better spend his vacation budget in friendlier and less paranoic countries.
Europe is failing to admit that Ukrainians have actually never lived in a third world country. The post-Soviet year of harsh evolvement of the market economy has created a certain gap in the Ukrainian society putting Ukraine in the tope positions in Europe by the number of billionairs, at the same time, some of the less fortunate Ukrainians are still earning humble 200-300 EUROs per month. Compared to the WWII devastation which took away lives of 8 million Ukrainians and the renewal of the economy from zero, the post-Soviet economic challenge is a matter of only a few more years. What’s bothering Ukrainians more is the fact that most of them are not welcome in Europe for no reason at all. And, if there is a reason, Europe should make it very clear and not distance itself from Ukraine even further.