The agreement provides for visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens when travelling to the EU for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period, the Council of the EU said in a statement on Thursday.
"We have demonstrated our strong commitment to visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens, now that Ukraine has met the necessary conditions for a visa free regime. The reform of the suspension mechanism adopted on February 27 enabled us to finalize this agreement," Carmelo Abela, the Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, commented on the decision.
Read alsoTrialogue on EU visa waivers for Ukraine ends successfullyNow that the agreement has been confirmed by EU ambassadors, on behalf of the Council, the regulation will be submitted to the European Parliament for a vote at first reading, and subsequently to the Council for adoption.
In December 2015, the Commission found that Ukraine had met all the benchmarks of the visa liberalization plan and was therefore ready for the exemption of the visa requirement. On April 20, 2016, the Commission published the proposal for visa liberalization for holders of Ukrainian passports.
Once the new visa regime for Ukraine is formally adopted, it will move the country from Annex I of Regulation 539/2001 (countries whose nationals need a visa to enter the Schengen area) to Annex II of the same regulation (visa free countries).
Read alsoVisa lib for Ukraine to be approved by EU Council May 11, to be enforced from June - mediaIn the context of the current migratory and security situation in the European Union, and taking into account its proposals on visa liberalization for Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey and Kosovo, the Commission decided in May 2016 to present a proposal for a regulation revising the current suspension mechanism. The revised suspension mechanism allows, in specific circumstances, for the suspension of the visa waiver for the nationals of a specific country.
In its negotiating position on visa liberalization for Ukrainian citizens, agreed on November 17, 2016, The Permanent Representatives Committee, or Coreper, took the view that the instrument should not enter into force before the entry into force of the revised suspension mechanism. The Council adopted the regulation on the suspension mechanism on February 27, 2017.