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Georgia, Ukraine May Get Visa-Free Regime With EU At Riga Summit

Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics (file photo)

BRUSSELS -- Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics has said that the EU might grant both Georgians and Ukrainians visa-free access to the EU's Schengen zone next year.

Rinkevics, whose country takes over the EU's rotating presidency in January 2015, told RFE/RL on December 16 that both Ukraine and Georgia had a chance to get visa liberalization at the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga in May next year.

He noted, "in my ideal world there is at least one or maybe even more than one Eastern partner where the visa-liberalization program is enhanced and introduced," noting that Ukraine is lagging a bit behind for purely technical reasons.

The countries have to undertake several reforms, such as increased judicial cooperation with the EU, before being granted visa-free travel.

Moldovans in April were granted visa-free travel to the Schengen zone, which consists of 22 of the 28 EU member states and non-EU Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.

With reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels

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