EU-EaP Visa Liberalisation Summary of recent developments

EU-EaP Visa Liberalisation Summary of recent developments

The Eastern Partnership Visa Liberalisation Index has recently been updated with the latest version covering the period October 2013 – January 2014. Many developments took place in the period October 2013 – January 2014 under examination. These were linked to the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, held at the end of November 2013. Although assessment of the Summit was dominated by disappointment at the non-signature by Ukraine of an Association Agreement with the EU, it was a fruitful event from the perspective of visa facilitation and liberalisation between the EU and EaP countries. Nevertheless, the decision of the Ukrainian government to suspend the process of European integration led to massive protests (“Euromaidan”), riots in Kyiv and other cities in Ukraine, as well as repressions. This harmed EU-Ukraine dialogue. Because of the situation a few proposals have been made by Polish NGOs and politicians for the temporary suspension of visa requirements for the citizens of Ukraine, (please find the statement of the Visa-free Europe Coalition here). Moldova, after a positive assessment of its fulfilment of the criteria listed in the Action Plan for Visa Liberalisation (2nd phase), received the European Commission’s recommendation that they be granted a visa-free regime (for holders of biometric passports) as soon as a political decision on this matter is taken. Azerbaijan signed a visa facilitation agreement, which – after signing a readmission agreement with the EU (expected in the first quarter of 2014) – will enable Azerbaijani citizens to obtain Schengen visas more easily and cheaply. Belarus provided a positive surprise to the European society with its declaration of its willingness to accept the EU’s invitation and commence negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission agreements.

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