13:59 11.05.2017

Poroshenko to leave for Strasbourg on May 17 to sign final document on visa-free regime with EU

Poroshenko to leave for Strasbourg on May 17 to sign final document on visa-free regime with EU

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko will leave for Strasbourg on May 17 to sign a legislative act on granting a visa-free regime to Ukraine.

"In Strasbourg, on May 17 - as we agreed with our European friends - the relevant legislative act will be solemnly signed. This will probably be one of my most important visits during three years of my presidency," the president's statement on the occasion of approval of granting a visa-free regime to Ukraine by the EU council says.

The decision will be posted by the Official Journal of the European Union and will take effect in 20 days, Poroshenko said. "Roughly on June 11, 34 European countries will give the green light to holders of Ukrainian biometric passports paying short-term visa-free visits," he said, adding there would no longer be lines at embassies and visa centers, and "tiresome paperwork would be gone."

Visa-free travel is "a giant step towards Europe, human freedoms and independence of the Ukrainian state," Poroshenko said. He thanked everyone who had helped Ukraine agree on visa-free travel with the European Union, including politicians, civil society campaigning for the advancement towards Europe, Ukraine's friends in the European Union and, "most importantly, Ukrainian soldiers who are defending Ukraine and the entire continent in the east."

The Council of the European Union supported liberalization of visa requirements for Ukraine at a meeting on Thursday.

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