The European Union and Ukraine have taken a significant step toward relaxing visa restrictions on travel between the two.
An Action Plan to allow visa-free travel was signed in Brussels earlier at the culmination of 14th EU-Ukraine summit.
The plan commits the EU and its Eastern neighbour to removing restrictions by 2012.
Following the signing EU president Herman Van Rompuy said: “It is with great pleasure that I announce today the introduction of the visa-free regime Action plan for Ukraine which concerns short-term visits of the Ukrainian nationals to the EU.”
The Action Plan sets out all technical conditions to be met by Ukraine in order to progress towards the establishment of a visa-free regime for short stay travel for Ukrainian citizens.
Kiev has been seeking closer ties with the European Union
Its implementation will start now and will be systematically monitored by both sides.
“I believe it is our joint achievement. Finally, we are getting very close to waiving the visa barriers”, said Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.
Ukraine waived visas for all EU citizens back in 2005 on the occasion of the Eurovision Song Contest which the country hosted that year in Kyiv.
Today’s move is the first from the EU to reciprocate the arrangement.