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EU proposes visa-free travel for Ukrainians

Update: April, 21/2016 - 12:33

BRUSSELS — The EU has proposed offering visa-free travel in Europe to Ukrainians, delivering on a key pledge to the pro-Western government in Kiev.

"Today we follow up on our commitment to propose short-stay visa-free travel to the EU for Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports," EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos told a news briefing in Brussels on Wednesday.

"This is the result of the success of the Ukrainian government in achieving far-reaching and difficult reforms in the Justice and Home Affairs area and beyond," he added.

Avramopoulos said the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, was formally making the proposal to EU member states who would vote on the issue.

Visa-free travel is a cornerstone of the so-called Eastern Partnership that is designed to attract eastern European nations into the EU’s sphere of influence.

Ukraine’s parliament last month approved a key anti-corruption bill that paved the way for a visa-free travel decision in Brussels.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Wednesday said it had been a "long and hard road" to get to this point but that he expected a deal on visa-free travel "within a few months". — AFP

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