Council confirms Maltese Presidency agreement with the European Parliament on visa liberalisation for Ukrainians

On 2 March 2017, EU Ambassadors confirmed, on behalf of the Council, an agreement reached by the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the EU with representatives of the European Parliament on visa liberalisation for Ukrainian citizens, which was reached on 28 February 2017.

The agreement with the European Parliament was reached in a single meeting, indicating the strong commitment of both the Maltese Presidency and its colleagues in the European Parliament to reinforce economic and cultural interaction between the EU and Ukraine.

Once the agreement goes through its formalisation process over the coming months, Ukrainian citizens in possession of a biometric passport will be able to travel to the EU without a visa for a period of stay of 90 days within a 180-day period.

Commenting on the confirmation of the agreement, Carmelo Abela, Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security, stated: “We have demonstrated our strong commitment to visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens, now that Ukraine has met the necessary conditions for a visa free regime. The reform of the suspension mechanism adopted on 27 February enabled us to finalise this agreement.”

The Council’s adoption of a reform of the suspension mechanism was secured by the Maltese Presidency earlier this week and enables the EU to take swift action if confronted by abuses of the visa-free regime. The adoption of this mechanism was key in enabling Council to agree to proceeding with the visa liberalisation regimes for both the Ukraine and Georgia. The latter agreement on Georgia was confirmed by Council on the same day as the suspension mechanism and will come into effect by the end of March.

The Maltese Presidency has been fully committed to moving forward with the visa liberalisation regime for both Georgia and Ukraine, which is why it has pushed for a swift timeline following the adoption of the revised suspension mechanism. In this regard, the Presidency is hopeful that the Ukrainian visa liberalisation regime will enter into effect by the end of its term (end of June) in order to continue to strengthen the EU’s important ties with Ukrainian citizens.