EU should grant visa-free access to the citizens of Georgia, Ukraine and Kosovo, said Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs on Thursday. They adopted three opinions calling on Civil Liberties Committee to take up this recommendation, as these countries have achieved significant progress in implementing the benchmarks set for lifting visa requirements and it will promote people-to-people contacts.
Visa facilitation and visa liberalisation for Eastern Partnership as well as Western Balkan countries is an important instrument of EU’s Foreign and Security Policy and as a way to promote people-to-people contacts and enhance relations with the EU, said Foreign Affairs MEPs.
With 42 votes to 3 and 6 abstentions they voted in favour of granting Ukraine a visa free regime with EU. The same notion on Georgia was adopted with 43 votes to 5 and 3 abstentions, and on Kosovo – with 38 votes to 7 and 6 abstentions.
“Ukraine has made a great progress on its European path since the EuroMaidan protests two years ago. It fought for its European choice and European democratic values. Ukraine has unquestionably and successfully met all benchmarks required to be granted visa-free regime as soon as possible and without any further delay“, said Jacek SARYUSZ-WOLSKI (EPP, PL), EP rapporteur on Ukraine.
“Establishment of visa-free regime between the EU and Georgia is a very important signal to the citizens of Georgia. The Georgian government and society have done the great job and now must see the results. I am very glad for the people of Georgia and wish them further success on the path of European integration“, said Andrejs MAMIKINS (S&D, LV), EP rapporteur on Georgia.
„I am convinced that the citizens of Kosovo deserve the abolition of visas as soon as possible. The lack of perspective for travel freedoms enjoyed everywhere else in the region is an unacceptable situation that needs to be ended. Now Kosovo politicians hold the key for visa liberalisation in their hands: they need to ratify border agreement with Montenegro and to deliver further progress on the track record of high level convictions for corruption and organized crime“, said Ulrike LUNACEK (Greens, AU), EP rapporteur on Kosovo
Foreign Affairs Committee opinions will be sent to Civil Liberties Committee, which will vote on the proposal to lift EU visa requirements for Georgia, Ukraine and Kosovo after the summer recess.