Visa-Free Aspirations: EU Urges Armenia to Do ‘Homework’

Written by | Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

The European Union urged Armenia to do some preparatory work for visa liberalization, the process, which could be started at a November summit. Brussels has in recent years granted visa-free travel to the EU for a number of post-Soviet countries including Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova after it had signed association agreements with them in 2014.

It seems that the bloc is now ready to offer the same benefit to Armenia after Piotr Switalski, the head of the EU’s delegation in the country, had urged Yerevan not to “lose time and do your homework”. He described the former Soviet states as examples that show clearly that “each country needs to make many legislative and administrative changes in order to meet the necessary [Schengen] requirements”.

Armenia had been working on its Association Agreement with Brussels before opting for the alternative of joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) in September 2013. The country’s long-serving president Serzh Sargsyan signed the EEU in late 2014 and Armenia became its full member state in January 2015. This time around, both sides are set to work on a less comprehensive agreement at the Eastern Partnership summit on 24 November, a gathering of the representatives of the EU, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn commented ahead of his trip to Yerevan that “the EU is ready to sign the new Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with Armenia,” adding that “this is a very important year for EU-Armenia relations as we broaden and deepen our cooperation based on mutual interests.” Armenia abolished its own visa-free travel scheme for EU nationals in 2013, the same year when a readmission agreement for illegal immigrants was finalized. The EU, however, later said that reciprocal process on visas was reliant on “full implementation” of that readmission deal.



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