Tag Archives: visa-free

EU-UK visa free travel reciprocity

“The Council and the European Parliament have agreed that, following Brexit, UK citizens coming to the Schengen area for a short stay (90 days in any 180 days) should be granted visa free travel. This agreement was confirmed yesterday by EU ambassadors on behalf of the Council and by the European Parliament Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee today. The text now needs to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council”  European Council announced.

“According to EU rules, visa exemption is granted on condition of reciprocity. The government of the United Kingdom has stated that it does not intend to require a visa from EU citizens travelling to the UK for short stays. In the event that the United Kingdom introduces a visa requirement for nationals of at least one member state in the future, the existing reciprocity mechanism would apply and the three EU institutions and the member states would undertake to act without delay in applying the mechanism. The Commission would monitor the respect of the principle of reciprocity on a continuous basis and immediately inform the European Parliament and the Council of any developments which could endanger the respect of this principle.”

Japan considers visa-free for Russians

Moscow has welcomed the deliberations in Tokyo for ending the visa system for Russians travelling to Japan, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Such discussions are undoubtedly welcomed and this fits into the general course towards further developing [bilateral] relations,” the Kremlin spokesman said.

Although the visa issue was not discussed at the latest talks between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the spokesman added.

The Japanese newspaper Sankei earlier reported that Tokyo was looking into cancelling short-term entry visas for Russian citizens, which means that they would be able to enter Japan visa-free for 90 days, if they register data of their passports in any Japanese consulate in advance, the newspaper writes.
Earlier Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said there can be a pilot visa-free prjoect between  Sakhalin and Hokkaido.

The visa  issue might be discussed between the Russian and Japanese foreign ministers, at during Munich Security Conference set for February 16, the newspaper writes.

Tourism to Japan is booming: last year 31 travelers enjoyed visit to the Land of the Rising Sun.


ALDE for new start with Russia

The European Parliament ALDE group, led by Guy Verhofstadt, hosted an annual conference on future of the EU-Russia relations #EURussia, the event is organised the third  time on the day of the Kremlin opposition politician Boris Nemtsov assassination. In spite of the symbolism, the tone of the debate was definitely constructive, aimed at normalisation of the relation between the neighbours, especially in the field of trade, suffering from both side from boycott, which has not brought an expected result. The burden of the sanctions has caused problems for the European farmers, who paid the bill for the EU method of pressure implication. However the policy was inconsistent, and Russian opposition politician Alexey Navalny, who virtually participated in the conference, criticised the European companies for baning his documentaries upon the request of Russian officials, and the other cases of Europe compromising its values, namely the freedom of speech, when dealing with Moscow.

In spite of the criticism of Kremlin, the participants of the conference unlike many other events on the subject, have drawn a clear line between the authorities and regular citizens of Russia, suggesting that there should be two different policies aimed at this two groups. The Chairman of the Munich Security Conference Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger called for visa-free regime with Russia, enhancing people-to-people contacts – the best way to ensure and promote democratic change, while awaiting for a chance to step in. Ischinger reminded about the spontaneous reunification of Germany, and added that Europe should be ready to step in when there will be a window of opportunity in Russia. He also regretted the policy of sanctions that had altogether negative effect on economies, and degraded the relations to lowest since the times of Cold War.

Responding to criticism, Russian foreign affairs expert Andrey Kortunov said there is sufficient space in existing frames for exchanges between the EU and Russian, but the is a need to use them effectively before proposing new formats. He admitted the difficulty of transition from communism to democracy was underestimated.

The representative of the NGO Golos Stanislav Andreichuk shared his vision of ongoing change within Russian society, gradually rediscovering its own potential. He underlined there is less readiness for complicity with Kremlin to manipulate the elections, and even lesser to commit fraud with the ballots. Andreichuk supported the proposal of visa-free with Russia, however insisted on tough struggle against corrupt officials.

The two-track approach was a promoted by many participants of the event, suggesting there is right time to engage in dialogue with Russia for the sake of the economic interest, and a profound need of democratisation of Russian society.

The leader of ALDE, being a consequent supported of Magnitsky law, has criticised the EU hypocrisy for accepting corrupt officials in Europe. He underscored the necessity to work on democratic change to avoid losing a young generation of Russian.



Hilde Vautmans: EU needs new strategy towards Russia

The participant of the ALDE conference on EU-Russia relations – MEPs, members of civil society, and academia put forward new four step policy towards Russia: visa liberalisation to enhance people to people contacts, “mutually convenient” economic co-operation and free-trade areas from Lisbon to Vladivostok; reconfirm the commitment to OSCE principles; engage in political dialogue in the framework of the Council of Europe.

Hilde VAUTMANS, MEP, ALDE expressed her concern about the multiple negative impacts of the current “vicious circle” of sanctions against Russia: there are European farmer who pay the bill for boycotting Russia, but not only. The wide-spread antagonism towards the Europe among young generation of Russians, born after the Cold War, will produce a significant difficulties in relations between neighbours in the future.

The conference took place in the European Parliament, 28 of February 2018


Ukraine celebrates visa-free to EU

Ukrainians are celebrating the first day of visa-free travel to most EU countries, which President Petro Poroshenko welcomed as a “a final exit of our country from the Russian Empire.”

The liberalized regime entered into force on June 11, allowing Ukrainian citizens who have biometric passports to enter all EU member states other than Ireland and the United Kingdom without a visa for up to 90 days during any 180-day period. It also applies to four Schengen Area countries that are not in the EU: Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

Donald Tusk, the EU Council president congratulated President Petro Poroshenko in Ukrainian language:




EP-Ukraine ceremony on visa-free

President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko sings a legislative act on granting a visa-free regime to Ukraine (European Parliament, Strasbourg).

Porocenko Strasbourg

“In Strasbourg, on May 17 – as we agreed with our European friends – the relevant legislative act will be solemnly signed. This will probably be one of my most important visits during three years of my presidency,” the president’s statement on the occasion of of granting a visa-free regime to Ukraine.


Turkey to suspend EU migrant deal if no visa free

“If we get a negative response from the EU we have the right to re-evaluate and suspend all of these agreements. The EU needs to give the visa-free travel our people deserve,” – said in an interview with broadcaster A Haber Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu commenting on the migrant deal and visa liberalization with the European Union claiming they  were a package.

Relations between Turkey and the European Union have deteriorated sharply in the run-up to a referendum which could grant sweeping powers to President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has warned before that the migrant deal was in jeopardy. Last month Erdogan said he could hold a referendum on whether to continue EU accession talks, and victory in Sunday’s vote would strengthen his domestic position in his dealings with the bloc.


MEPs vote visa-free for Ukraine

Ukrainian citizens will be exempted from EU short-stay visa requirements, after Parliament endorsed an informal deal with the Council on Thursday.

Under the new law, Ukrainians who hold a biometric passport will be able to enter the EU without a visa for 90 days in any 180-day period, for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes, but not to work. The exemption applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

“Ukraine has achieved all the benchmarks, so the visa requirement should be lifted”, noted rapporteur for the proposal Mariya Gabriel (EPP, BG), adding that the visa waiver will be “another very strong message that Ukraine is a key partner for the European Union in the Eastern Partnership”.

The legislation, approved by 521 votes to 75 with 36 abstentions, still needs to be formally adopted by the Council of Ministers. It is likely to enter into force in June, 20 days after it is published in the EU Official Journal.

Before exempting Ukrainians from visa requirements, the EU strengthened the visa waiver suspension mechanism, to allow visas to be reintroduced more easily in exceptional cases.



Procedure:  Ordinary legislative procedure, first reading agreement

REF. : 20170329IPR69065

Updated: (06-04-2017 – 12:36)








Turkey claims EU visa-free


The deals with the European Union, including an agreement on hosting the flow of migrants in Turkey, would be jeopardized if the bloc failed to implement promised visa liberalization for Turks, – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (pictured) said.

Speaking to CNN Turk television Cavusolgu said Turkey would present a final text to the EU “and either it will all be canceled, including the visa liberalization and migrant deal, or it will all be implemented.”

Turkey and the EU last year agreed a deal to stem massive flows of illegal migrants to Europe for readiness to footing the bill for the migrants stay in Turkey in a controversial multibillion deal, including visa-free for Turkish citizens.


Photo: illustration

Ukrainians towards visa free to EU


Ukrainian citizens will be able to travel to the EU visa free under an informal deal struck by Parliament and Council negotiators on Tuesday, 28.02.2017. Once the change enters into force, and provided they have biometric passports, they will be able to enter the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day-period for business, tourist or family purposes.

The deal will now have to be endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee and Parliament as a whole, , before being formally approved by the Council of Ministers.

Parliament´s rapporteur, Mariya Gabriel (EPP, BG) said “adopting the visa waiver for Ukrainian citizens is an important step forward towards reforming Ukrainian society by bringing people together, building bridges across borders. We at the European Parliament are convinced that Ukrainian citizens now deserve the right to travel freely to the EU. The time has come for the European Council to deliver results.”

Before granting this visa waiver, EU member states revised the visa waiver suspension mechanism to allow visas to be reintroduced more easily in exceptional cases. This revision was approved on Monday by the Council. The legislation will be signed by Parliament’s  President Antonio Tajani and representatives of the Maltese Presidency of the Council on Wednesday 1 March and enter into force 20 days after it is published in the EU Official Journal.

The visa waiver will apply to all EU member states except Ireland and the United Kingdom. It does not confer a right to work in the EU.

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