The ceremonial signing of the act took place during a working visit of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko in the European Parliament. The ceremony was also attended by the new President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, the Minister of internal Affairs presidency of Malta Carmelo Abela and EP Rapporteur on visa-free regime Maria Gabriel.
The document will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official journal of the EU: sometime in early June, reports RBC.
Ukraine becomes the third of the six Eastern partnership countries which have achieved visa-free regime with the EU, after Moldova and Georgia. Visa-free regime for holders of biometric passports works between Moldova and the EU from April 2014, and between Georgia and the EU — March 2017.
A biometric passport as a condition strongly reduces the share of those Ukrainians who will be able to take advantage of new rights. As of may 11, 2017 biometric passports for travel abroad received about 3.3 million citizens of Ukraine during the last month — some 100 thousand people. It's about 8% of the total population.
The introduction of a visa-free regime grants the right of Ukrainians to freely travel throughout 30 States. It is 22 countries included in the EU and the Schengen area, four of the Schengen countries outside the EU (Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein) and four EU countries outside the Schengen area (Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia). The only exceptions are the UK and Ireland, has the right not to join Schengen, as members of the European Union.
Visa-free regime will provide citizens of Ukraine the right of stay for 90 days within each 180-day period. If for any reason you will need to stay abroad for a longer period, you will have to apply for a visa. We are talking about the stay: the rights to accommodation, employment or training in the EU document does not.
The achievement of visa-free regime with Europe for Ukraine is positive news, however, to say that this step determines the future European integration of the country prematurely, I am sure Ukrainian expert in international and legal Affairs Andrew Buzarov. In addition, Kiev has no programs of joining the EU and the Association Agreement (not yet fully ratified by the Netherlands) means only the political and economic rapprochement, but not the infusion.
The movement of Ukraine towards the free borders with the EU lasted for more than six years. For the first time at the official level, the action plan on visa-free regime was agreed at the summit Ukraine-EU in November 2010. For several years this plan has been developed and modified, again on granting a visa-free regime started to speak after the signing of the political part of the Association Agreement in March 2014, the new authorities in Kiev.
In December 2015 the European Commission has acknowledged that Ukraine has fulfilled all the basic conditions for the introduction of a visa-free regime. Only in December 2016, the European Parliament has approved the emergency suspension of visa-free regime for citizens of third countries, given the concern of the Dutch. The mechanism can be used in four cases: the increase in the number of refusals to citizens of those countries entry into the European Union