President Petro Poroshenko stressed that today is a special day - the first anniversary of the abolition of visa regime with the EU countries for Ukrainian citizens. During the conversation with the students of the Ukrainian Academy of Leadership, the Head of State noted that this event took place "in conditions where a large number of people did not believe that it was possible at all".
"What have happened this year? 20 million of Ukrainians crossed the border. It is not the number of Ukrainians, but the number of border crossings, because some could cross the border several times. But 555 thousand Ukrainians crossed the border without getting a visa. Received biometric passports, came and as respectable citizens of a respectable country went to Europe. I am very happy with this", stressed the Head of State.
He especially emphasized that in recent years Ukraine has made huge changes and implemented a number of necessary reforms to introduce visa-free regime. The signing of the Association Agreement, the introduction of a free trade area with EU countries took place. And all this despite the fierce resistance of the country-aggressor and fake referendums in the countries of the European Union, organized by Russian political technologists.
"On September 1, the ratified Association Agreement entered into force, an integral part of which is the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. What is a visa-free regime, the Association Agreement and the Free Trade Area? This is the final farewell to the Soviet Union. And I think that is why so painful was the reaction to my speech, which happened exactly one year ago on the European square. The place of the speech was also symbolic", said Petro Poroshenko.
"This is not against the Russians, because we also welcome them in Europe. Just change - just as the Ukrainians change", he added.
The President stressed that free movement of goods and services and free movement of people - one of the main stages of human freedom and its implementation is facilitated by the visa-free regime and the FTA.
But despite these achievements, the country faces a lot of challenges, so Ukraine should be ready to overcome them, the Head of State said. "We need to be prepared for a very thorough, very difficult struggle. In order to protect together with you the European future of Ukraine. And we will protect it. Because the truth is with us. Because there is more of us. Because we have absolutely convincing arguments", the President said.
Petro Poroshenko also reminded that there were a lot of skeptics on the issue of canceling the visa regime. They expressed doubts about the need for introduction of electronic declarations and public reporting on available fortune, "because we will not get a visa-free regime anyway".
"My answer was very simple. The first thing is that pockets should be turned off if you work in the public service. And this is a completely normal tradition. Even if some European countries do not do this now - they will do it in the future, because it is transparency", said the President.
"No one is fighting people who have honestly earned their fortunes. Moreover, we will even support them if they create a national product, jobs, if they pay taxes. But if they earn their incomes in an non-transparent or corrupt way, they should be responsible", he added.
"But then I said - friends, I believe in the European future of Ukraine. I believe that Ukraine will receive a visa-free regime. And exactly a year ago, we opened the symbolic door together with the President of Slovakia, the great friend of Ukraine and my great friend Andrzej Kiska, the door to the Europe", concluded the Head of State.