March 31, 2014 - 16:59 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - European Commission will move to facilitate entry visa procedures for 22 members of the Schengen area, with relevant proposals to be submitted by Commissioner Connie Hedegaard on April 1.
As Interfax reported, citing Deutsche Welle radio station, the amendments planned will allow a stay of over 90 days to owners of Schengen visas. Also, the visa issue procedures will be simplified for citizens of non-EU countries, with much less documents required.
It may also become possible to file visa requests over the internet or upon crossing the border.
Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that the EU will revise its policies towards Eastern Partnership program participants. “We won’t be forcing our Eastern neighbors to make a final choice in favor of a single policy line,” he said.
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are part of the Eastern Partnership program. Starting in May, owners of biometric passports in Moldova will be allowed entry to the Schengen area for no more than 90 days.
On November 9, 2013, European Parliament approved the EU-Armenia agreements for visa regime facilitation and readmission. New rules stipulate for acceleration of visa provision terms and decrease of visa fees, as well as shortening the list of documents necessary.
The ratified agreement entered into force on January 1, 2014.
The agreements for visa regime facilitation and readmission are envisaged by the EU’s Eastern Partnership program aimed to establish closer partnership with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus.
On December 17, 2012, the European Union signed a deal with Armenia which will make it easier and cheaper for Armenians to travel to the bloc, its member states announced. The deal, which required the approval of the European Parliament, will make it more straightforward for Armenians to acquire short-term visas to the EU.
The agreement also depends upon both parties signing a so-called readmission agreement, which regulates the return of citizens residing on each other’s territory without the necessary visas or permits.
The agreement was signed in Brussels by Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Cypriot Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis.