YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—In what they called a major boost to their relations, Armenia and the European Union finalized on Thursday an agreement to ease visa requirements for Armenian citizens planning to visit EU countries.
Stefano Manservisi, head of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Home Affairs, and Avet Adonts, the Armenian ambassador to the EU, also initialed a separate “readmission” agreement in Brussels. It obligates Yerevan to help EU immigration authorities quickly expedite the repatriation of Armenian illegal immigrants.
The agreements were announced after three rounds of negotiations between Armenian and EU officials that opened in Yerevan in February.
The visa accord is meant to give Armenian travelers access to the so-called Schengen zone encompassing much of Europe with fewer documents and at a lower cost. Also, some categories of the population such as university students, academics and state officials would be eligible for long-term and multiple-entry Schengen visas.
Manservisi said this will bring Armenian and EU nationals “much closer to each other.” “In this sense, this is more than just an agreement,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) in Brussels. “This is a new level of mutual trust, opportunities and freedom.”
Adonts and a separate statement issued by the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Yerevan expects the agreements to be signed in December. The statement also said that they are due to “enter the ratification phase” in the first half of next year.
Manservisi was more cautious in that regard, citing “technical requirements” needed to complete the process. But he said the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, will put the agreements into practice as early as possible.
The EU official also confirmed that the deal paves the way for future visa-free travel of Armenians to EU countries.
Armenia unilaterally lifted its visa requirements for EU nationals two weeks ago. Starting from next year, they will be allowed to stay in the country visa-free for up to 90 days.
Armenian officials said this move should, among other things, encourage the EU not to link the entry into force of the more liberal visa regime with Armenia with the signing of a similar deal with Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani government’s visa facilitation talks with Brussels are currently at a less advanced stage.
Visa facilitation will be a key element of an “association agreement” between the EU and Armenia, which is being negotiated by the two sides as part of the EU’s Eastern Partnership program. Another crucial component of that far-reaching agreement is the creation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). Yerevan’s separate talks with Brussels on the DCFTA began in June.
The Armenian government hopes that the entire association accord will be finalized before the end of next year.
this will open the gate for more people to leave the country
Congratulation for such a big step forward. I hope Armenian government will reduce VAT (20%) and Taxes (12%) to improve the business relationship with EU.
Armenia is still at war on two fronts and under blockade by NATO Turkey (act of war.) When the US was at real war the taxes here were even higher.
One way to address this is to start collecting all-Armenian tax (1.915% every April 24?). Don’t even need to send it to Armenia or Artsakh. So much could be done in our communities here. Like owning our own politicians…
Hayabahbanum teh tnakandutiun? Khelki yekek hayastani sut ghekavarutiun.
Is this another push to evacuate Armenia?
E.U. a useless organization,like the League of Nations,all talk,no action.Why dont they confront and condemn,the real issues i.e. The Armenian Genocide,and the real criminal,JERKEY turkey.
Ok, next time I will read your name I will ignore you.
EU is a political, tax and customs union with huge ramifications for the member states. And guess what, I am saying this as an Armenian: they don’t give two shits about Armenia or the Armenian Genocide. This is what I should call the Armenian brain issue: yes, economical crisis, but according to Alex Postillian the “real issue is” another genocide that took place a hundred years ago outside of Europe.
“Jerkey” is very clever too… what are you, 12?
@ Alex, the Armenian Genocide is not “the” real issue…it happened 97 years ago and at this point, it does nothing for the Republic of Armenia, nor does it do anything for the Armenian people…do you actually think that something will come of this? Lets say the republic of Turkey acknowledges the genocide, do you think they’re just going to hand over land or pay some kind of substantial penalty? Please people wake up. If were serious about helping Armenia we need to help the country address issues such as depopulation, corruption, and monopolies. Those are the real issues, those are the issues that will make a difference a hundred years from now, not genocide recognition . Furthermore, unless we address the issues I just highlighted, Armenia as an independent republic will cease to exist within the next 30 to 40 years. I would also like to add, that if we create a viable Armenia then the issues of Genocide recognition and the right of Artsakhs citizens to self determination would take care of itself. Its time to take on a new approach in order to solve the problems of the past and present.
I don’t understand why you guys are tolking like that? Can’t you see that EU wants to try to give Armenia a chance by starting to ease the visa process for Armenien citizens? If Armenien government would be like that bad as you say you would not read this artical here that the EU tyres to bring Armenia closer to the EU. So the Armenien goverments are trying to make a start some how everything else will come slowly. There are many EU countries which are in Schengen zone and there is still coraption there and they are still called schengen zone, it’s not only Armenia. As far as I can understand Armenia tyres his best at the moment to give people free movment by traveling and that’s a big step for Armenia cause if people in Armenia start to have a free movment in traveling I think people’s views will be different and better they will go to Europe and come back as well cause that’s what Armenia needs free movement so just be happy people I am sure things will be better once Armenia start to work with EU.