EU mulls abolishing visa-free regime with Eastern Partnership countries

14 May 2020 10:45 (UTC+04:00)

By Ayya Lmahamad

The European Union has said that it will start negotiations on a visa-free regime with the Eastern Partnership countries, which do not yet have it, only if certain conditions are met, local media reported on May 12.

On May 11, the Council approved the regulations of the official EU position on the Eastern Partnership.

Under these regulations, the possibility to start negotiations on visa liberalization with the rest of the countries whose citizens require visas to travel to the EU, “will be considered in due time, if conditions allow.”

Citizens of three of the six Eastern Partnership countries - Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine - have visa-free travel to the EU for short periods. Nationals of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Belarus require visas.

These conditions, in particular, include compliance with the existing travel regime, satisfactory implementation of visa facilitation and readmission agreements.

So far, the visa-free regime between Azerbaijan and the EU applies only to holders of diplomatic passports.

The Council underlined that for the successful implementation of the existing action plans on visa liberalization, it is important that the targets, visa facilitation agreements and readmission were continuously met.

The Council also expressed concern over the large number of unsubstantiated asylum applications from nationals of certain partner countries is of concern to the EU Member States.

The Eastern Partnership program was launched by the EU in 2009. Its main goal is to develop regional cooperation with six countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

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