It is a day that is a symbol of most Ukrainians. 11 June 2017. We can travel to the Schengen area without a visa. We can not take work, it is limited to travel as tourists. Actually, it is not important in this context. The most important thing is that we are part of Europe in a way we were not before today. For many Ukrainians, it also means a definite deterioration to Russia and a first step towards a part of the free Europe.
For many Ukrainians, a trip to Norway, Germany or France will remain a dream. The journey is too expensive for many. But maybe sometime in the future. Maybe next year or in a couple of years. Now we have an opportunity we had not before. An opportunity to travel a little without seeking a visa. A biometric passport is all that is needed.
For many Ukrainians, Western Europe is the dream of a free society. In the winter of 2014, people in Kyiv died for this dream. The demand at that time was to be part of the European family. Do not be a satellite state for Russia. The Revolution in 2014 was also about much more. It was also about the distribution of power and the fight against corruption. Much remains, but much goes in the positive direction. Being able to travel to Schengen without a visa is meaningful symbolic. We have actually managed to get closer to the western Europe.
My hope is that this also has a symbolic meaning for Western Europe. I hope more people travel to our country to see, vacation and experience a different culture. Ukraine needs all the tourism we can get. Tourism is leaving money. Jobs are created. But perhaps the most important thing is that traveling between different countries creates contacts between people. It creates understanding and respect.
I feel not only like Ukrainians, but as Europeans.