The liberalisation of the European Union visa regime is one of the priorities of the EU Eastern Partnership initiative covering Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Achieving visa-free travel for short-term trips between the EU and its Eastern neighbours is important not only for the Eastern Partnership states, but also the European Union.
All the required criteria and benchmarks are set out in the documents prepared by the European Commission known as Visa Liberalisation Action Plans (VLAP). Right now, three out of six EaP states have been granted such Action Plans: Moldova and Ukraine in 2011, and Georgia in 2013. However, the main criteria for all the countries are similar.
Whereas, all the six EaP countries are implementing reforms in the key policy areas, including Belarus, which does not have official cooperation with the EU on visa policy. For these reasons it is possible to monitor the situation in every country according to a common methodology, including one set of criteria and benchmarks.
All the benchmarks in the Action Plans are grouped into four policy blocks:
Block 1 is focused on ensuring that travel documents issued by EaP states conform to international standards and the issuance process is safe and reliable. Block 2 is aimed at ensuring adequate level of border and migration management as well as asylum policy in accordance with international standards. Block 3 focuses on public security and order, including prevention and fighting organized crime, terrorism and corruption; international judicial co-operation and law-enforcement co-operation; and ensuring high level of data protection. Finally, Block 4 is focused on anti-discrimination and respect and protection of human rights.
The whole report may be read here:
Source: cesd.azTags: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, EaP, Eastern Partnership, EU, Georgia, Moldova, Schengen, Stefan Batory Foundation, travel, Ukraine, Visa, visa free, Visa Liberalisation Action Plans, visa policy, Visa-free Europe Coalition, VLAP