People, Travel

European Parliament Backs Visa Waiver for Ukrainians

European Parliament Backs Visa Waiver for UkrainiansEuropean Parliament Backs Visa Waiver for Ukrainians

The European Parliament on April 6 supported easing travel rules for Ukrainians, driving on a western integration viewed with great suspicion by Moscow.

Ukraine has been the scene of the worst confrontation between Russia and the West in Europe since the Cold War with Moscow annexing Crimea from Kiev in 2014 and backing separatist rebels in the east of the country, reported.

The West has sided with Ukraine where Russia intervened after a Moscow-allied president was toppled by street protests demanding an end to corruption and closer EU ties. Russia denies direct military involvement in its southern neighbor.

Last November, member states approved the visa waiver for Ukrainians and the dossier was sent to the parliament.

European lawmakers voted 521 to 75 to grant Ukrainians holding biometric passports the right to visit for up to 90 days for tourism, business or visiting relatives and friends.

“Ukraine has achieved all the benchmarks, so the visa requirement should be lifted,” said European Parliament's rapporteur for the proposal, Mariya Gabriel (Bulgaria), adding that the visa waiver will be “another very strong message that Ukraine is a key partner for the European Union in the Eastern Partnership”.

“Great day for the people of Europe and Ukraine,” said Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, a Swedish member of the parliament.

The visa waiver, which does not give Ukrainians the right to work in the EU, is expected to take effect this summer.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints