Long awaited visa free travel to the European Union for Ukrainian citizen was announced this week by European Council President Donald Tusk. He announced that Ukraine had worked hard to meet the standards that were set for the process to go ahead and that in the next few weeks European Union officials would be working out how to implement the scheme to come into action as soon as possible.
The announcement came during meetings between Ukrainian and European Union officials in Brussels.
The visa free scheme will allow citizens of the Ukraine to enter most European Countries with just a biometric passport. The rules only apply to those countries in the Schengen areas including Switzerland and Iceland but not the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland.
The European Union President stated that this would provide “Additional assistance from Europe should help Ukraine in strengthening its democratic path.”
The announcement has come during a time of political instability for the Ukraine and it is hope that this will drive the country towards greater economic security and closer ties with Europe. Meanwhile visa free travel by Turkish citizens is still being held up with Turkeys non -compliance with the European Union’s conditions and there will be frustration among Turkish politicians that the Ukrainian move has come ahead an agreement with Turkey.
The Ukrainian President commented that he was disappointed that visa free travel was not yet available to his citizens but that he hoped that the arrangements would be in place by the end of the year. He has been promising visa free travel to Europe as part of his manifesto for the past three years and this agreement will provide a welcome move towards this pledge. How it takes for the agreement to be put in place however remains to be seen.