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Ukrainian president on visas: ball in EU's court

Visa-free travel will be granted after the conclusion of negotiations between the European Parliament and the European Council.

Ukrainian president on visas: ball in EU's court
Photo: Photo: president.gov.ua

President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine has not received today a visa-free regime due to bureaucratic problems within the European Union.

"It is for the first time that difficult questions on the fulfilment of requirements to the visa-free regime are addressed not to Ukraine but to the European Union," Poroshenko told a news conference after the Ukraine-EU summit on 24 November.

"In the course of today's summit, Ukraine was not asked a single question. Ukraine has fully complied with all its obligations. This is the first summit when Ukraine is asking the European Union to fulfil its obligations," he went on.

The president stressed that the visa-free regime would be granted upon the completion of negotiations between the European Parliament and the European Council.

"The 45-million Ukrainian nation has accomplished immense reforms, has implemented all 144 requirements under the visa liberalisation action plan, and today it was given clear assurances that the decision on granting the visa-free regime will be made immediately upon the settlement of those stylistic inter-institutional negotiations," Poroshenko said.

Earlier, Poroshenko said that Ukraine had met all 144 EU requirements to visa-free travel. He expressed hope that the EU would lift visas for Ukrainians before the EU-Ukraine summit in Brussels on 24 November.

On 17 November, the EU Council approved visa liberalisation for Ukraine, thus confirming the European Commission's proposal.

Shortly before the start of the EU-Ukraine summit, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said that the visa-free regime for Ukraine depends on the ability of EU member states to come to terms. In his words, the European Parliament has done everything in its power to speed up the abolition of the visa regime for Ukrainian citizens, but now some EU member states are hampering the advancement of negotiations.