13:46 08.05.2017

EU Council to take final decision on visa-free for Ukrainians during Eurovision in Kyiv

EU Council to take final decision on visa-free for Ukrainians during Eurovision in Kyiv

Eurovision is the most famous song contest in the world and regardless of which country representative will win the Eurovision 2017 starting in Kyiv this Sunday, this contest will be the triumph of European values, European unity and solidarity, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said.

"The first contest took place in 1956. The song united Europe healing wounds caused by the World War II. And nobody could imagine at that time that this contest will become a symbol of show business development, communication technologies and television as art. Ukraine joined this contest much later than other countries, but it hosts the Eurovision for the second time already," Poroshenko said in his address on the occasion of the official start of Eurovision 2017 at noon on Sunday.

"Ruslana’s victory in spring 2004 happened in unison with the first pro-European Maidan. Jamala’s triumphant performance last spring in Stockholm again led the Eurovision to Kyiv. A powerful international support for the song “1944” became a symbol of solidarity with the Crimean Tatar people. Probably for the first time in the history of the contest, a song of such dramatic tension bore the palm," he said.

"I am grateful to Jamala for the victory, for making this great European holiday in Ukraine come true. Attention of hundreds of millions of TV viewers from all over the world will be drawn to Ukraine these days, to our European aspirations, to our struggle for freedom and independence," the president said.

Poroshenko also said about a deeply symbolic coincidence that exactly in the days of the Eurovision, the Council of the European Union will adopt a final decision as regards visa-free regime. "From the middle of the next month, Ukrainian citizens will get an opportunity to travel to the EU countries without visas. This is the first significant result of the reforms held in Ukraine during the last three years," he said.

Poroshenko wished all Ukrainians feel themselves as people's diplomats these days, when so many foreign guests arrived in Kyiv.

"Let us do everything for them to come back home with the best impressions from our country. No matter which country wins the contest, it will be a triumph of European values, European unity, European solidarity. And Ukraine is Europe. Without any doubt! I congratulate you, fellow Ukrainians, on a European spring. Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Europe!" the president said in his address.

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