Other documents - EU and the Eastern Partnership

“The European Council […] considers the following topics to be of primary importance:
– cooperation of third countries in readmission/return of their nationals and of third-country nationals,
– efforts in border control and interception of illegal immigrants,
– combating of trafficking in human beings, including taking legislative and other measures,
– cooperation on visa policy and possible adaptation of their visa systems”

“According to the Hague Programme of 4-5 November 2004 “The European Council invites the Council and the Commission to examine, with a view to developing a common approach, whether in the context of the EC readmission policy it would be opportune to facilitate, on a case by case basis, the issuance of short-stay visas to third country nationals, where possible and on the basis of reciprocity, as part of a real partnership in external relations, including migration-related issues”.

Common approach on visa facilitation
“Visa facilitation measures for individual countries should be part of a common approach which reflects priorities and differentiation in order to avoid a piecemeal response based exclusively on pressures from third countries.”

Council Conclusions on European Neighbourhood Policy
2851st EXTERNAL RELATIONS Council meeting Brussels,
18 February 2008
“In order to increase mobility, legitimate short-term travel by nationals from ENP countries to the EU should be facilitated, on the basis of a country-by country approach, by a more flexible use of existing possibilities to simplify visa procedures, as well as inter alia through the consideration of Common Application Centres and the rapid conclusion by Member States of bilateral agreements relating to local border traffic, particularly with those partner countries bordering the Schengen area.”

Commission staff working document accompanying the communication from the commission to the European Parliament and The Council Eastern Partnership,
3 December 2008
“Building on EU experience of upgrading border management in the context of the 2004-2007 enlargement and EU Border Assistance Missions, a programme for introducing integrated border management at the EaP countries’ non-EU borders could be developed. This is a precondition for effectively tackling customs fraud, trafficking and illegal migration, and thus for progress in key policy areas such as trade, customs and visas. Setting up integrated border management structures aligned to EU standards is also an important prerequisite for progress on the mobility of persons. Assistance for border demarcation, where appropriate, could also be provided in the frame of this initiative.”

Joint Declaration of the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit Prague,
7 May 2009
“Supporting mobility of citizens and visa liberalisation in a secure environment is another important aspect of the Eastern Partnership. It will promote mobility of citizens of the partner countries through visa facilitation and readmission agreements; the EU, in line with its Global Approach to Migration, will also take gradual steps towards full visa liberalisation as a long term goal for individual partner countries on a case-by-case basis provided that conditions for well-managed and secure mobility are in place.”

Opinion of the European  Economic and Social Committee on  ‘Involvement of civil society in the Eastern Partnership (Exploratory opinion),
17 November 2009
“1.7. Mobility and people-to-people contacts must be stepped up if the Eastern Partnership goals are to be achieved. The EESC supports the relaxing of visa regulations for certain groups of citizens from the partner countries with a view to the incremental dismantling of requirements as and when the security interests of both sides permit.”
“ 3.9.  It is very important, if the Eastern Partnership goals are to be achieved, to step up people-to-people contacts. Mobility is a major issue in both  bilateral  and multilateral relations.  The ultimate goal of scrapping visa restrictions with these countries must be achieved gradually by relaxing requirements for students, businessmen, regular visitors to the EU countries and family members, and by cutting fees for issuing visas. For this, the relevant agreements must be concluded with the partner countries.”

European Parliament resolution of 25 November 2009 on the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council – An area of freedom, security and justice serving the citizen – Stockholm programme
25 November 2009

“66. Calls on the Commission to draw the appropriate conclusions from the implementation of the visa and readmission agreements and bilateral local border traffic agreements already in place between the European Union and its eastern neighbours, along with the visa liberalisation process in the western Balkans, with a view to establishing a set of clear criteria and benchmarks on a case-by-case basis in order to evaluate and improve existing visa facilitation agreements and work towards a visa-free travel area aimed at increasing the level of people-to-people contact.”

Implementation of the Eastern Partnership: Report to the meeting of Foreign Ministers,
1 December 2009
„The EU has committed itself to  respond to the strong request of partners for enhanced mobility through visa  facilitation and readmission agreements and through “gradual steps toward full visa liberalization as a  long-term goal for individual partner countries on a case-by-case basis provided that conditions for well-managed and 2 secure mobility are in place” There has been progress on this agenda with all six EaP partners: Negotiations with Georgia on visa  facilitation and readmission agreements have been technically concluded. Preparations for similar agreements for Armenia and Azerbaijan could be considered taking into account the common approach on visa facilitation.”

Communication from the commission to The European Parliament and The Council Eastern Partnership,
3 December 2009
“The  mobility side of the pacts would reflect  the recent Commission Communication on Strengthening the Global Approach to Migration and the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, endorsed by the European Council in  October 2008. The main tool would be the Mobility Partnership, as identified in the framework of the Global Approach to Migration and currently tested with  a number of countries, including  the Republic of Moldova (hereafter referred to as “Moldova”). Developments in the area of visa policy will be an integral part of this wider concept. Visa policy would follow a phased approach, leading to visa liberalisation under specific conditions and with accompanying measures, including financial assistance for our partners. “

4 May 2010
One of the goals of the programme is providing the access to Europe in a globalised world while guaranteeing security of EU citizens. It can be partly achieved also by signing Association Agreements with Eastern Partnership countries, supporting the mobility of citizens and, “as a long-term perspective, visa liberalisation in a secure environment.”

Conclusions on Eastern Partnership 3041st FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council meeting Luxembourg,
25 October 2010
The Council declares its willingness to work towards a possible future visa free travel regime while “ensuring regional coherence in the approach adopted towards visa liberalisation with the Eastern Partnership countries and also Russia. (…) In accordance with the Stockholm Programme and the Joint Declaration of the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit, the Council has invited the Commission to develop before the end of 2010 a plan on how to take cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries forward in the area of Justice, Freedom and Security. This plan should also list the gradual steps towards visa liberalisation as a long-term goal for individual Eastern partner countries on a case-by-case basis, as well as describe the conditions for well-managed and secure mobility.”