The European Parliament approved a visa-free regime with Ukraine


European Parliament Committee on civil liberties, justice and home Affairs on Monday, September 26, by a majority of votes supported the granting by the EU of a visa-free regime for Ukraine.

As reported on the website of the European Parliament, the proposal was voted by 38 deputies, four voted against, and one abstention.

Now this decision must be approved by the European Parliament and the Council of Europe. The author of the resolution was an MP from Bulgaria Maria Gabriel. She noted that the dialogue on visa liberalisation has become an effective tool to advance complex and far-reaching reforms, particularly in the area of justice and internal Affairs.

Speaking about the problems of migration and security threats, Gabriel said that at present the denial of visa to get about 2% of applicants, and about 80% were trying to illegally enter the Schengen area to return to Ukraine.

Gabriel also deals with issues of visa-free regime for Georgia it appointed a Rapporteur from the relevant Committee on these issues. On 5 September the Committee voted in favor of granting the right of visa-free travel to the EU for Georgian citizens. The Committee noted that Georgia had met the criteria for the granting of such a right even in 2015, but then the EU due to the mass influx of migrants and refugees has postponed making a decision on this issue in the fall of 2016.

In April 2016, the European Commission said that Ukraine has fulfilled the pre-conditions and offered the Council of Europe and the European Parliament to introduce a visa-free regime for Ukrainians. If the EU and the European Parliament will adopt a document, the citizens who have biometric passports are able to travel to Schengen countries without a visa for up to 90 days. This period may be extended to 180 days for business trip, travel programs or deal with family issues. This measure will not allow the Ukrainians to find work in the EU for this purpose they will first need to obtain permission and to provide financial guarantees.

In August the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko said that the EU will give the citizens of Ukraine visa-free regime in the coming weeks. “I am convinced that in the near future the European Union will take a decision”, — said Poroshenko, speaking in Kyiv. “Only a few weeks left before open “free door” of the United Europe for Ukrainians”, — assured the head of the Ukrainian state.

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