Magazine article European Social Policy

Eu/ukraine Summit : Eu & Ukraine Conclude Visa and Immigration Pacts

Magazine article European Social Policy

Eu/ukraine Summit : Eu & Ukraine Conclude Visa and Immigration Pacts

Article excerpt

During the EU-Ukraine Summit in Helsinki on 27 October, the parties completed negotiations on the EU-Ukraine visa facilitation and readmission agreements. Both parties welcomed progress made on the EU-Ukraine Action Plan, and agreed on the crucial importance of political and economic reforms in Ukraine, as well as the need for Ukraine to finalise the World Trade Organisation accession process. They also agreed on a common approach to the new enhanced agreement.

The visa facilitation and readmission agreement will simplify procedures for Ukrainians seeking visas to travel to Europe and will make a significant difference in fighting illegal immigration. At a press conference following the summit, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso explained that the agreement will make it easier for certain groups of people to obtain short-stay visas to the EU. There is now a possibility for Ukrainian citizens to obtain multi-group visas for eg students, journalists, members of delegations, pensioners and lorry drivers.

Under the new agreement, a decision on whether or not to issue a visa will have to be taken as a rule within ten days and the documents that need to be presented have been simplified. Visa fees applied by Schengen member states are fixed at 35, though these are waived for some groups of people such as close relatives, students, disabled people, journalists and pensioners.

The agreement on readmission sets out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of both Ukraine and the respective EU member state as to when and how to take back people who are illegally residing on their territories. …

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