December 8, 2016 / 8:38 AM / in 8 months

EU unblocks visa-free travel for Ukraine, Georgia

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BRUSSELS, Dec 8 (Reuters) - The European Union will soon let Ukrainians and Georgians visit the bloc without needing a visa after officials said a deal had been struck on Thursday to end an internal EU dispute that had been holding up the promised measures.

Late-night talks involving EU member states and the European Parliament had reached a compromise on the terms of a mechanism that can be used to suspend the visa-free schemes in emergencies.

The two former Soviet republics are seeking to move further away from their former master Moscow and closer to the West but have grown frustrated that the EU was failing to deliver. After last year's migration crisis, EU governments had grown nervous of popular reaction against a move to make visits easier for 45 million Ukrainians, as well as 5 million Georgians. (Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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