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Ukraine One Step Closer To EU Visa Liberalization

BRUSSELS -- EU member states moved a step closer to giving Ukraine visa-free access after ambassadors gave the bloc's executive authority the green light for new talks on easing the rules.

The decision on November 17 by EU ambassadors now gives the executive authority, known as the European Council, a mandate to work with the bloc's legislative chamber, the European Parliament, on a procedural mechanism.

The ability for Ukrainians to travel through Europe's so-called Schengen zone has been long sought by Kyiv, since it would potentially give a jolt to cross-border trade.

But some European nations fear an influx of lower-wage workers from Ukraine will put more pressure on labor markets and add to the growing doubts about immigration on the continents.

Both Ukraine and Georgia, another former Soviet republic, are at the same stage in the process, waiting for a compromise between the European Council and the European Parliament on the suspension mechanism.

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