After months of talks the EU has reached an agreement to grant visa-free travel to 50 million citizens of Ukrainian and Georgian. The deal was agreed at the beginning of December 2016 and has been welcomed by both sides of the discussions. It has been reported that last minute discussions had been held whereby a compromise was reached that a process could be included into the deal which could be used to suspend the visa free travel agreement in certain emergencies. The deal has yet to be formally ratified by all EU member states but it is thought that this is a formality and there will be no issues. The recently announced deal “will facilitate the immediate consideration of the two visa liberalisation proposals for Georgia and Ukraine,” MEP Agustin Diaz de Mera said. The last minute introduction of the suspension mechanism would allow the visa free arrangement to be suspended at times of any surge in increase of citizens travelling from either of the two countries, Ukraine and Georgia. The visa arrangements will only apply to the Schengen zone and has been long awaited from the two countries that have been trying to distance themselves from Russia. There had been growing frustration from Ukraine and Georgia over the length of time the arrangements were taking but there had been growing concern across Europe over the migration crisis and allowing more free travel to the region. Across Europe there has been a rise in anti migration rhetoric, while in the UK much of the Brexit debate had been over migrations and freedom of movement across Europe. However, it seems that the suspension mechanism has placated many of the opposition to the arrangement and the agreement has now go the go ahead from all EU member countries of the Schengen Zone.
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