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Date reavealed for visa-free entry to EU for Ukrainians and Georgians

9 February 2017 16:10 (UTC+04:00)
Date reavealed for visa-free entry to EU for Ukrainians and Georgians

By Kamila Aliyeva

The European Union will soon let Ukrainians and Georgians visit the bloc freely.

A visa-free regime with the European Union (EU) for Georgia is expected to take effect from March29, and for Ukraine - June 12, Georgia Online reported wit reference to Radіo Liberty reporter Rikard Jozwiak.

Earlier, the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the European Council decided on the date for the tripartite talks on the abolition of the visa-free regime for Ukrainian citizens.

Johannes Hahn , EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiation announced that Georgia should fulfill more than 40, and Ukraine more than 150, economic and political conditions of the EU, in order to achieve the complete elimination of entry visa.

Last year, the EU approved the completion of the legislative process of providing the citizens of Ukraine and Georgia with the visa-free regime with the EU member states.

The prospect of easier travel to Europe has been used by the pro-Western governments in Kiev and Tbilisi to win popular backing for painful EU-sponsored reforms.

Georgia, with only 3.7 million citizens, is an easier case for the EU but has been held hostage by the greater hesitation over Ukraine, which has 45 million people, and is stuck in a conflict with Russia.

Negotiations on visa liberalization for Ukraine and Georgia began back in 2008 as part of the Eastern Partnership Program. Georgia entered the practical phase of those talks in 2012 as it prepared for associate EU membership. Ukraine reached that stage in 2014. Ukraine abolished visa requirements for EU citizens back in 2005, and Georgia followed this example in 2006.

According to the Eastern Partnership Visa Liberalization Index prepared by the Visa-free Europe Coalition and the Stefan Batory Foundation, Armenia, Belarus, and Azerbaijan are the countries which are next in line to gain ratification of visa-free regimes.

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