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Kostyantyn Gryshchenko: Ukraine has made another important step towards visa-free travel with the European Union
23 July 2012 14:03

"Ukraine has made another important step towards visa-free travel with the European Union," Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Kostyantyn Gryshchenko said in Brussels today, after the ceremony of signing amendments to the Agreement on Visa Facilitation between Ukraine and the EU. European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus (currently holding the Presidency of the EU Council) Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis signed the document from the European side.

With this achievement the Ukrainian diplomacy has made a significant contribution into strengthening civil society in Ukraine. After the agreement enters into force, representatives of NGOs, religious communities, trade unions taking part in international forums, conferences, and exchange programs will have the right to get long-term, multiple entry and, most importantly, free visas. Given the fact that journalists, students, and businessmen already do have such a right, it is no exaggeration to say that the state has created the conditions for representatives of the most socially active strata of society and main promoters of Europeanization of our country to travel simply to the EU.

From now on, the procedure of obtaining EU visas will be more transparent and everyone will have the right to submit visa applications directly to the embassies and consulates of the EU member states (without intermediaries in the form of visa agencies). The new document regulates the question of obtaining multiple entry and long-term visas (for 1 year and 5 years instead of for up to 1 year and up to 5 years respectively). The procedure of journalists and their crews (cameramen, sound engineers, etc.) obtaining visas was also simplified: they may now submit their media company’s request instead of the invitation from the receiving party when applying for a visa.

"We are convinced that the more Ukrainians have the opportunity to see firsthand through educational, business, research, and tourist trips, how the European Union lives, the better will European standards and values be implemented in Ukraine. The plane of shared values should be developed based on free communication and human exchange," Kostyantyn Gryshchenko said.

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