Address by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko regarding EU’s decision on visa-free regime with Ukraine and prolongation of sectoral sanctions against Russia

Address by President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko regarding EU’s decision on visa-free regime with Ukraine and prolongation of sectoral sanctions against Russia

Fellow Ukrainians!

Right now, in Brussels, the European Commission published the final report on the full implementation of criteria for the visa-free regime by Ukraine.

Without any exaggeration, it is a great victory for Ukraine and each of you. I sincerely congratulate everyone on this.

After the Agreement on political association and deep and comprehensive free trade area, we have made another stride towards our cherished European dream.

It is not a secret that many people both in Ukraine and the EU doubted that we would manage to elaborate clear and unconditional prospective for the abolition of the visa-free regime for Ukrainians.

Nevertheless, we have been moving towards our goal for long 7 years and I am proud that I was standing at the very beginning of this long road. Even yesterday’s negotiations in Brussels, I can already tell you this, were pretty complicated… However, my team and I managed to set the record straight.

I am truly grateful to our European partners, Verkhovna Rada, Government, diplomats, Ukrainian civil society and all Ukrainian people for our common efforts.

Together we won the deserved right for the Ukrainian citizens to travel to the EU countries without visas. They will become a reality next year already.

Today’s decision by the European Commission, apart from providing a green light to the introduction of the visa-free regime, is a signal of recognition of Ukrainian reformist efforts, inter alia, in the sphere of justice, struggle against corruption, establishment of new law enforcement bodies etc.

We endured the long seven-year marathon in the visa-free race. However, there was a true sprint in the issue of fight against corruption and launch of an absolutely new anti-corruption system in Ukraine.

There are equally difficult challenges ahead.

Visa liberalization reforms are just a training race, especially when comparing with the implementation of objectives in the framework of political association and free trade area with the EU.

It will start functioning on January 1, 2016, no matter how hard somebody may try to stop us.

It is our joint position with the European Union, just as in the issue of sanctions against Russia. The EU continues to protect the Ukrainian sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity together with us.

The EU preserves its position of unity and solidarity with Ukraine.

In compliance with my agreement in Brussels, today the European Council started the process of formalization of the decision to prolong sectoral sanctions against the Russian Federation for the next six months, starting from January 31, 2016.

Sanctions will motivate the country-aggressor to implement the Minsk agreements in full, which is key for the achievement of peace and restoration of territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Fellow Ukrainians!

Once again, it became possible due to your optimism and strong faith in the European future of Ukraine. This faith inspires our team and all Ukrainians; adds up forces in the fight for our national interests.

Thank you for your support and once again congratulations on this important decision of the European Commission.

It is symbolic that the given decision was made on the eve of the Saint Nicholas Day and a few weeks before the New Year. As the phrase goes in such cases: under the Christmas tree.

I believe that we will succeed and everything will be fine.

Glory to Ukraine! European Ukraine!

19 Dec 2015

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