European Commission confirms Ukraine meets criteria for visa liberalisation
The European Commission has officially confirmed that it will present in early 2016 a legislative proposal to the Council and the European Parliament to lift visa requirements for Ukrainian citizens holding a biometric passport – amending Regulation (EC) No 539/2001, according to an EC Progress Report on Ukraine issued on Friday, December 18.
The progress report highlights the significant headway made by Ukraine to meet the criteria for visa liberalisation.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos welcomed the enormous progress made by Ukraine.
"I am very pleased that Ukrainian citizens with a biometric passport will soon be able to travel to the Schengen area for short stays without a visa. I congratulate the Ukrainian leadership on the progress made towards completing the reform process which will bring important benefits to the citizens of Ukraine in the future," he said.
"The hard work towards achieving this significant goal has paid off. Now it is important to keep upholding all the standards," he added.
At the same time, he said, progress in conducting reforms and the adoption of important laws, the fight against corruption remain important issues.
The Commission on December 18 adopted the sixth and last progress report on the implementation by Ukraine of its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP).
The visa-free travel will apply to all EU Member States, except for Ireland and UK, as well as the four Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland). The exemption from visa requirement concerns only short-stays, up to 90 days in any 180-day period for business, touristic or family purposes.
The EU-Ukraine Visa Dialogue has been an important and effective tool for advancing far-reaching and difficult reforms in the Justice and Home Affairs area and beyond, impacting on areas such as the rule of law and justice reform. The progress achieved by Ukraine in all areas covered by the four blocks of the VLAP has been steady and effective. It demonstrates the commitment and constant efforts of the Ukrainian government and all state institutions that have made the fulfilment of the VLAP benchmarks a top national priority.