EU reaches deal to grant visa-free travel to 50 million people

The former Soviet republics are seeking to move further away from their former master Moscow

The EU has reached an agreement to grant visa-free travel to 50 million Ukrainians and Georgians.

Officials said the deal had been struck on Thursday to end an internal EU dispute that had been holding up the promised measures.

Late-night talks involving EU member states and the European Parliament had reached a compromise on the terms of a mechanism which can be used to suspend the visa-free schemes in emergencies.

The deal on visa suspension must still be formally approved by the member states and the European Parliament.

The deal struck between the European Parliament and the member states “will facilitate the immediate consideration of the two visa liberalisation proposals for Georgia and Ukraine,” MEP Agustin Diaz de Mera said.

Under the deal, visa requirements may be reintroduced if there is a surge of citizens from a non-EU country such as Ukraine or Georgia staying irregularly in EU territory.

They can also be reintroduced if there is a rise in unfounded asylum applications, or a lack of cooperation on returning migrants, or if nationals are deemed to pose a security threat.

“This agreement is balanced, and is extremely important for both the effectiveness and credibility of the union’s visa liberalisation policy,” Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said.

Full article: EU reaches deal to grant visa-free travel to 50 million people (The Independent)

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