International Coalition for the European Continent Undivided by Visa Barriers Sends Appeal to EU and EaP States Leaders

On 15 September, the international Coalition for the European Continent Undivided by Visa Barriers, called upon the leaders of the European Union and Eastern Partnership (EaP) states to reiterate their pledge to establish visa-free travel between the EU and the EaP countries.
The members of the coalition believe that “visa liberalisation has a common win-win outcome.”

By introducing the reforms in border security, police co-operation and exchange of information, the EaP countries will be strengthening the security and mutual confidence between the EU and the EaP countries, e.g. in co-operation on fight against organised crime, human trafficking or illegal migration.

“The introduction of visa-free travel for EaP countries opens huge economic opportunities for EU business and tourists industries. Visa-free regime will also be a greater motivator for the EaP countries for further reforms,” the coalition’s statement reads.

The members of the coalition also called upon the Polish Presidency to take concrete steps towards accelerating the visa liberalisation process for the EaP countries. According to them,
 Ukraine and Moldova should move into the next phase of the Action Plan as soon as possible, Georgia's Action Plan should be launched, and Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements should be made a top priority with Belarus, Azerbaijan, and Armenia.

It is important to speed up the fulfilment of provisions and regulations set out in the existing Visa Facilitation Agreements (VFA) and the Visa Code they believe. It is noted in the statement that VFAs constitute the first step in the direction of abolishing visa restrictions, but so far had largely failed to compensate for negative outcomes following the last enlargement of the Schengen zone. “Despite the expectations, the VFAs have not yet become an efficient instrument of simplification and have not yet made any significant impact on the visa procedure,” the experts on visa issue say.

Read the text of the appeal

Coalition for the European Continent Undivided by Visa Barriers was launched in Warsaw on November 26, 2010 on the initiative of the Stefan Batory Foundation. Today its members include more than 30 non-governmental organisations from different parts of Europe, including a Brussels-based Office for a Democratic Belarus.

The coalition takes joint actions to speed up the process of EU visa liberalisation with the countries of the Eastern Partnership (Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia) and Russia. We want to make ourselves better heard by decision-makers and make a stronger stand for visa-free Europe.

The members of the Coalition’s Steering Committee include Joanna Fomina from the Stefan Batory Foundation (Warsaw), Olga Stuzhinskaya from the Office for a Democratic Belarus (Brussels) and Oleksandr Sushko from Europe without Barriers (Kyiv).

Learn more about the coalition: