EU ambassadors on March 2, 2017, confirmed, on behalf of the Council of the European Union, the informal agreement reached on February 28, 2017, between the Maltese Presidency and the European Parliament on visa liberalization for Ukrainians.
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.
Now 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.
See also: Ukraine feels let down by EU with visa deal elusive
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).
The final approval of a visa-free regime for citizens of Ukraine should take place at a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council May 11, Europeiska Pravda reports citing independent sources from influential EU member states.
The schedule has been informally agreed upon between the European institutions and member states, according to Europeiska Pravda.
Ukraine’s Visa Liberalization Saga
17 February, 2017 European Parliament predicts date of visa waivers for Ukraine
17 December, 2016 Date for Ukraine visa liberalisation vote removed from European Parliament website
16 December, 2016 European Parliament hopefully to complete talks with EU Council on Ukraine visa liberalisation in January 2017
17 November, 2016 EU Ambassadors to greenlight talks on Ukraine visa liberalization Nov 17
12 October, 2016 No visa waver for Ukrainians on European Parliament`s October agenda
6 October, 2016 EU diplomats to discuss visa waiver for Ukraine on Oct 27
26 September, 2016 European Parliament`s Committee on home affairs okays report on visa-free travel for Ukraine
13 September Ukraine to get visa-free regime with EU in October – Poroshenko
30 June, 2016 Poroshenko says decisive ”weeks or even days” ahead in visa liberalization issue for Ukraine
3 June, 2016 Poroshenko confident Ukraine to get visa-free regime with EU as early as this year
26 May, 2016 Ukraine expects to see EU `visa decision` before summer break
12 January, 2015 Poroshenko hopes visas will be cancelled at summit in Riga
17 December, 2014 Ukraine to be ready for visa-free regime with EU by Riga summit – Poroshenko
1 December, 2014 Visa-free regime with EU can become a reality in May – Foreign Ministry
1 October, 2014 EU confirms its readiness to introduce visa-free regime for Ukrainians