EU Kick-Off Visa Facilitation Negotiations with Azerbaijan

EU Kick-Off Visa Facilitation Negotiations with Azerbaijan

Delegation of the European Union in Baku released information on first round of visa negotiations between EU and Azerbaijan. Press-release stated that , the European Union (EU) held its first round of the negotiations on the visa facilitation and readmission agreements with Azerbaijan on March 01-02, 2012. The visa facilitation and readmission negotiations follow the political commitment taken at the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit in May 2009 regarding the improvement of people-to-people contacts.

“This is an important moment in the EU-Azerbaijan cooperation as we have concretely started to negotiate the visa facilitation and readmission agreements with Azerbaijan. We have had very fruitful 2 days of negotiations, where Azerbaijan demonstrated full and deep commitment and a constructive attitude. Visa facilitation and readmission agreements negotiations constitute the two sides of the same coin, which each partner will reach at its own pace depending on the political will of the country. We are aware that that is also something that the people of Azerbaijan is looking forward to”, said Ambassador Roland Kobia, Head of EU Delegation to Azerbaijan following the negotiations.

The Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements Negotiations were conducted between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, represented by Mahmud Mammadguliyev, Deputy Foreign Minister and chief negotiator and Parviz Musayev, deputy chief of the State Migration Service and the EU mission co-chaired by Rob Rozenburg, Deputy Head of International Affairs Unit and Diederik Paalman, Deputy Head of Visa Policy Unit (both from EU Commission Directorate for Home Affairs).

The Visa Facilitation agreement is aimed at the facilitation of personal interaction between the EU and Azerbaijan’s people. The two agreements discussed include reduced visa fees for all citizens; issuance of visas for an intended stay of no more than 90 days per period of 180 days, fee waivers for certain categories of people; a maximum processing time of 10 calendar days; simplified supporting document requirements; wider issuance of multiple-entry visas for certain categories; and enhanced mobility in a secured and well-managed environment.

The Readmission Agreement will stipulate mechanisms for the return of nationals staying without authorisation on the territories of the EU or Azerbaijan.

The two aforementioned Agreements are interlinked like “twins” and can be signed and come in vigour only together. Both Agreements must be looked in the broader context of Eastern Partnership (EaP). Lifting the EU visa requirement for the citizens of partner states travelling to the EU is one of the EaP’s key, although long-term, objectives. In the shorter perspective, the EaP envisages visa facilitation and readmission agreements (already signed with Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia). Mobility of citizens (achieved through visa facilitation and readmission agreements) remains one of the core objectives and partner countries are promised visa-free regime with the EU in due course.

 

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