EU, Ukraine Reach Visa, Immigration Pacts

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- The European Union and Kiev have reached agreements on visas and readmitting illegal immigrants, which is to be initialled at an EU-Ukraine summit today in Helsinki, the European Commission said yesterday.

“I am very pleased that the agreements on visa and readmission have been agreed,” said European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso in a statement.

“This means that Ukrainians will now be able to travel more freely and easily while maintaining the efforts to clamp down on illegal migration,” he added.

Under the agreement on visas, procedures for issuing short-stay visas to Ukrainian citizens are to be eased.

The readmission agreement sets out clear obligations and procedures for both EU and Ukrainian authorities about when and how to take back people who are illegally residing on their territories.

The two agreements, which are to be initialled today by EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner and Ukraine Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk, have to be approved by the European Parliament and the 25 EU member states to go into effect, which generally takes about a year.

Source: AFP