Brussels, 19 April 2013
EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström welcomes the signing of the EU-Armenia Readmission Agreement
Today, the European Union and Armenia signed an agreement on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation. A visa facilitation agreement with Armenia, opening the way for easier travel and people-to-people contact across Europe, was already signed on 17 December 2012.
"The signature of a readmission agreement is a concrete step forward in EU-Armenia relations." said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs. "The visa facilitation and readmission agreements are very tangible results of the Eastern Partnership and will promote interaction between citizens of the EU and Armenia and strengthen our cooperation in the fight against irregular immigration. I am very pleased that both agreements have now been signed - this means that Armenians will be able to travel more easily while facilitating the effective management of irregular migration”.
Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements with Armenia
In September 2011, the Commission proposed to open negotiations on agreements to facilitate the procedures for issuing short-stay visas as well as on the readmission of irregular migrants between the European Union and Armenia ( IP/11/1053 ).
-The visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Armenia was signed on 17 December 2012. It makes it easier and cheaper for citizens of Armenia, in particular those who travel most, to acquire short-stay visas allowing them to travel throughout the EU. A short-stay visa is a visa for an intended stay of no more than 90 days per period of 180 days.
-The readmission agreement sets out clear obligations and procedures for the authorities of both Armenia and the respective EU Member State as to when and how to take back people who are irregularly residing on their territories. These obligations cover nationals from Armenia, the EU Member States and those from third countries and stateless people, provided the latter have a clear link with the requested party (e.g. visa or resident permit). A special accelerated procedure will apply to persons apprehended in common border regions who can be returned more quickly. The agreement contains the necessary safeguards with regard to data protection and the protection of fundamental human rights. Full respect of Human Rights as provided by the European Convention of Human Rights will be guaranteed during the application of the readmission agreement.
-The European Parliament now needs to give its consent before both Agreements can be concluded.
The visa facilitation and the readmission agreements will enter into force simultaneously, which will be on the first day of the second month following the date on which the two parties notify each other that the internal procedures have bee
-The UK and Ireland do not participate in the Visa facilitation Agreement; Denmark and the Schengen associated Countries (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) are invited to conclude bilateral Visa facilitation Agreements in similar terms as the EU-Armenia Visa Facilitation Agreement.
-The UK, Ireland and Denmark do not participate in the readmission agreement.
So far, the EU has signed visa facilitation and readmission agreements with ten countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia. Yesterday, on 18 April, the EU signed a readmission agreement with Cape Verde, which is also coupled with an agreement on visa facilitation.
Negotiations are furthermore ongoing with Azerbaijan, and negotiating mandates are in place for Belarus.