Ukraine has made enough progress in introducing reforms to obtain visa-free entry to the Schengen area for its nationals, Dimitris Avramopoulos, EU commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, said Friday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The EU official held talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Thursday. Avramopoulus informed the Ukrainian leader that the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament were now ready to consider approving a visa waiver for Ukrainian passport holders visiting the Schengen area, a deal which has been under negotiation since 2008.
"Our proposal to offer visa-free travel to Ukraine is an acknowledgment of Ukraine's successful reforms. That is why it is important that Ukraine remains committed to continue the reform process," Avramopoulos wrote in an official statement.
However, visa-free travel does not afford the right to work in Europe, which has been so important for Ukrainian advocates of integration with the European Union, he added.
"Of course, visa exemption does not provide for the right to work in the EU, and the proper use of the visa-free rules will be important – but I know that the Ukrainian government has started to inform its citizens about this already," the European Union's top migration officer said.
The new Kiev authorities that came to power after the regime change in February 2014 have made visa liberalization one of the top issues on the Ukrainian-EU integration agenda.
Progress in the visa negotiations has been the first sign of advance in the integration talks since Dutch voters rejected a draft Ukraine-EU association agreement in a referendum in April.
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