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EU And Ukraine Countersign the Visa-Free Agreement
17 May, 2017
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The EU and Ukraine countersigned the visa-free agreement in Strasbourg today, May 17. The president of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko both oversaw the official ceremony.

Under the new law, 45 million Ukrainians who hold an e-passport will be able to travel around the 30 states of the Schengen Zone without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, to visit relatives and friends, or for business purposes, but not to work. The exemption applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

"Today is a historical day for Ukraine. We're coming back to the European family," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko wrote on Twitter.

The European Parliament handled the mandate to work on a flow chart for a visa-free regime for Ukraine back in 2010. On April 20, 2011 then President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych approved the document on implementing the plan for visa liberalization.

However, on November 28-29, 2013 at a summit in Vilnius the contract went unsigned and the EU integration process stopped. The Revolution of Dignity, where more then million people stood for European values and EU integration, happened in 2013-2014. Petro Poroshenko became the new president and he renewed the pro-European direction of Ukraine.

Kyiv, Ukraine. 30.01.2014. Photo: EPA, MAXIM SHIPENKOV

After the Ukrainian government fulfilled the conditions for visa liberalization, the European Parliament started the process. The EU institution supported the proposition from the European Commission to grant a visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens on April 6.

Visa liberalization for Ukraine was approved by 521 votes to 75, with 35 abstentions during the plenary meeting of Euro parliament in Strasbourg.

“Ukraine has achieved all the benchmarks, so the visa requirement should be lifted,” noted rapporteur for the proposal, Mariya Gabriel (Group of the European People’s Party (EPP)), the European Parliament News writes. She also added that the visa waiver will be “another very strong message that Ukraine is a key partner for the European Union in the Eastern Partnership”.