Negotiations to begin at the end of 2017 and to be finalized in 2019-2020
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian stated that Armenia and the European Union have successfully implemented an agreement on the simplification of the visa regime and read the mission for the past three years. The next step, according to Nalbandian, will be a dialogue on the liberalization of the visa regime.
The statement was made during a meeting between the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Four and the Eastern Partnership countries in Warsaw.
Liberalization of the visa regime is expected within the Framework Agreement which Armenia plans to sign jointly with the EU. In 2013, the Association Agreement wasn’t signed because of Armenia joining the Eurasian Economic Union.
Many regard the forthcoming framework agreement as political. The past Association Agreement was more economic and envisioned the creation of a free trade zone.
Grant Mikaelyan, a researcher at the Caucasus Institute, considers the achievement as a feasible visa-free regime. According to him, despite the failure to sign the AA in 2013, it still managed to mitigate the visa regime for the citizens of Armenia.
Today, within the framework of the new treaty being prepared for signing, negotiations are expected to begin on the abolition of the visa regime. The negotiations are likely to begin in late 2017 and finish in 2019-2020.
During the meeting in Warsaw, the Armenian Foreign Minister also spoke about the necessity to ensure one of the key principles of the “Eastern Partnership” – the mobility of citizens, which allows for the expansion of contacts between the societies.
He stressed that the links between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union should become part of a realistic and result-oriented dialogue. Armenia, as a member of the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) and a participant in the Eastern Partnership, is ready to contribute to this effort.