Ahead of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga on 21-22 May, which will be an important milestone in the cooperation with the Eastern Partnership countries, the Commission is issuing two progress reports on the implementation by Georgia and Ukraine of their respective Visa Liberalisation Action Plans (VLAP). This is a sign of the Commission's commitment and of the pace of the measures being taken by the two countries.
The assessment found that, despite the exceptional circumstances that Ukraine currently faces, the progress achieved in the implementation of the second phase benchmarks of the VLAP has been noteworthy. The significant effort made by the Ukrainian authorities led to a coherent legislative framework and commitment to institutional reforms. Sustained efforts by all stakeholders involved will be needed to implement the recommendations included in the present report.
The key priority is the sustainable implementation of the legal and institutional framework, in particular in the areas of asylum, anti-corruption, organised crime, trafficking in human beings and anti-discrimination. Fulfilling the actions required in this report would allow Ukraine to complete its implementation of all the VLAP’s second-phase benchmarks.
Georgia's progress has been significant in a short period of time and is broadly in line with the second-phase benchmarks. While the legislative and institutional framework in placeand the integrity of the institutional and organisational practices across the four blocks of VLAP generally comply with the European and international standards, Georgia still needs to address the remaining recommendations and sustained efforts by all stakeholders involved will be needed.
The key priority is the sustainable implementation of the legal and institutional framework, in particular in the areas of asylum, anti-corruption, trafficking in human beings and drugs. Fulfilling the actions required in this report would allow Georgia to complete its implementation of all the VLAP’s second-phase benchmarks.
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "The visa liberalisation dialogue is an important driver of reforms in the area of Justice and Home Affairs. Georgia and Ukraine showed great commitment in fulfilling the VLAP benchmarks under the second phase. It is crucial that this hard work continues in the months to come."
The Commission will continue to monitor and to do its utmost to support Georgia and Ukraine throughout the process, as it has been doing in the past years and will report on progress by the end of 2015.
The enhanced mobility of citizens in a secure and well-managed environment is one of the core objectives of the Eastern Partnership. To this end, the EU carries out Visa Liberalisation Dialogues with interested partner countries.
The main tool of the dialogue is the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan which is tailor-made for each partner country and structured around four blocks concerning
i) document security, including biometrics;
ii) integrated border management, migration management, asylum;
iii) public order and security;
iv) external relations and fundamental rights.
The Action plan contains two tiers of benchmarks: first-phase benchmarks concerning the overall policy framework (legislation and institutions) are set to pave the way for the second-phase benchmarks relating to effective and sustainable implementation of the relevant measures.
- The EU-Ukraine Visa Liberalisation Dialogue was launched on 29 October 2008 and the VLAP was presented to Ukraine on 22 November 2010. Today's progress report is the fifth of its kind - the first since the assessment of the benchmarks under the second phase of the VLAP has been launched in May 2014 (IP/14/613). The Commission will continue to assist Ukraine in the implementation of the VLAP and, depending on the progress achieved, it will issue the next report by the end of 2015.
- The EU-Georgia Visa Liberalisation Dialogue was launched on 4 June 2012 (IP/12/561) and the VLAP was presented to the Georgian authorities on 25 February 2013. Today's report is the third one. The Commission will continue to assist Georgia in the implementation of the VLAP and, depending on the progress achieved, it will issue the next report by the end of 2015.