A new law on a unified state demographic register passed by parliament on Oct.2 is set to bring Ukraine closer to a visa-free regime with the European Union.
Yet critics call on President Viktor Yanukovych to veto the law, which they say will unnecessarily cost the country millions of hryvnias for other types of identification cards. Privacy fears are also high. Some think the law cedes too much control of personal data to EDAPS, a controversial and privately owned document producer. The president has spoken out in support of the law, but had not announced a decision as of Oct. 18.
Biometric passports are one of the conditions Ukraine has to fulfill in order to ease its visa requirements with the EU. However, the political union has had little to say about the law passed this month because the EU delegation was still waiting for details.