EU’s Johannes Hahn hopes Georgians, Ukrainians and Kosovars will travel visa-free this year

The European Union’s (EU) top enlargement official hopes citizens of Georgia, Ukraine and Kosovo will be able to travel without visas to the EU in 2016.

Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations believed the three countries deserved visa-free travel “because they have done their work” to achieve it.

Hahn talked about the visa liberalisation process of Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo and Turkey in an exclusive interview with RFE/RL in Prague.

“Of course [at the end of the process] there is always a political assessment. But in terms of, so to say, meeting the standards and qualifying themselves, they have done what is necessary,” he said.

Now it was up to the European Council and the European Parliament to approve visa waivers for the countries seeking visa liberalisation.

“I think there should be joint treatment for at least these three countries, maybe including Turkey,” Hahn said.

He also said Turkey would not get an easier ride than Ukraine, Georgia or Kosovo in securing a liberalised visa regime with the EU.

“We are treating everybody equally,” Hahn said. “This means we have applied the same methodology for Ukraine, Georgia, and also for Kosovo. And the same applies for Turkey.”

However he added visa liberalisation depended on how quickly “our partner countries” will “move forward and comply with our requirements.”

“In that respect there is no…discount for Turkey to get something cheaper than the others because it is about certain standards which have to be met,” Hahn said.

He dismissed claims Turkey would be granted a visa waiver faster than the other three countries in exchange for Ankara’s help in stemming the flow of refugees and migrants into Europe.


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