EUROPEAN FOREIGN POLICY SCORECARD 2014

Eastern neighbourhood

44 - Visa liberalisation with the eastern neighbourhood

Grade: B-
Unity 3/5
Resources 3/5
Outcome 6/10
Total 12/20
Scorecard 2012: B- (12/20)

Moldova made the greatest progress in reforming its visa legislation and the European Commission recommended lifting visa requirements.

Border management and migration are key areas in the dialogue on visa liberalisation between the EU and Georgia and Moldova, and an integral part of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan. In 2013, the EU signed a €16 million deal to improve Georgia’s border management, strengthen its capacity to manage migration, enhance its ability to fight cross-border crime, and reduce human trafficking. The Visa Facilitation Agreement with Ukraine came into effect in July.

As the reports on the visa implementation of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plans with Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia show, Moldova made the greatest progress. –  met all the benchmarks, including a safe system for biometric passports, reform of the interior ministry, and improved border checks, particularly in Transnistria. At the Vilnius summit, the European Commission recommended lifting visa requirements for Moldova, and most member states seem to support doing so. On the other hand, Ukraine, which started negotiations on visa liberalisation earlier than Moldova, did not meet requirements in 2013. Georgia received a Visa Liberalisation Action Plan only in 2013 but is making fast progress. At the Vilnius summit, the EU signed a visa liberalisation agreement with Azerbaijan that allows Azeris to get visas faster, more cheaply, and with less bureaucracy. Belarusian citizens received more EU visas per capita than any other Eastern Partnership country in 2013.

Progress in visa liberalisation in 2013, particularly in the run-up in Vilnius, was driven by the northern and central European countries, in particular Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. But even Germany, which was always critical with regard to easing visa ease, was more willing to push the topic forward than in the past.