Issue 83

Readmission/visa facilitation agreements with Armenia

Delegation of the European Union to Armenia

Press and Information Department

Yerevan, 20 December 2011

On 19 December the Council of the European Union adopted a decision authorising the Commission to open negotiations for readmission, as well as visa facilitation agreements with Armenia.

Once the Commission estimates that negotiations with Armenia are finalised, the Council will need to adopt decisions on signing and concluding the agreements by qualified majority and the European Parliament will need to give its consent. 

Background

On 19 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(see  http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/11/1053&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en). 

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The visa facilitation and readmission negotiations with Armenia follow the political commitment taken at the Prague Eastern Partnership Summit in May 2009 regarding the improvement of people–to people contacts. This approach was reaffirmed more recently by the Eastern Partnership Foreign Ministers’ conclusions in December 2010. Once negotiated, the agreements on visa facilitation and readmission can only enter into force simultaneously.

 

Van Rompuy shares concerns with Ukrainian civil society

20-12-2011

The conclusion of talks on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement is a giant step in bilateral relations, President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy told representatives of Ukrainian civil society in Kyiv. However, the perceived deterioration of the quality of democracy and rule of law in Ukraine may make the ratification and signing of the Association Agreement more difficult, he insisted. 

A number of recent domestic developments in Ukraine had led to a difficult atmosphere in bilateral relations, Van Rompuy said, in particular citing the politically motivated justice in Ukraine, of which the Tymoshenko trial was the most striking example.

Other shortcomings related to ensuring fundamental freedoms in Ukraine and the interference between political considerations and the application of criminal law, which are widely noted in European public opinion, “adding to our strong concern,” Van Rompuy said. 

The President underlined that “the respect for these principles, enshrined in the Eastern Partnership and at the core of the Association Agreement, is decisive for the pace and depth of rapprochement with the EU,” adding: “It is also fundamental to Ukraine’s future development as a competitive, dynamic and innovative society.” (ENPI Info Centre)  

 

EU steps up budget support in Georgia: €26.22 million for Internally Displaced People and Education

20-12-2011

The European Union has recently disbursed €26.22 million to the Georgian Treasury in support of measures in two key sectors, internally displaced people and education, according to a press release from the EU Delegation in Tbilisi.

The EU has paid €21.1 million (out of an overall support of 43.5 million) towards so-called “special measures” by the Georgian government in support of Internally Displaced People. This support will help Georgia in resettlement of IDP families and construction of new apartments in Poti, Batumi, and Tskhaltubo, and help achieve the targets of Georgia’s IDP Action Plan. 

Another €5.1 million out of the €19 million pledged in 2009 will go in support of the vocational education and training sector, the press release added.

 Education and training is an integral part of the process of sustaining human capital development, as it endows people with skills, knowledge and attitudes that enhance their employability and improve their adaptability to changing and flexible labour markets. This is also an area where the EU puts a great emphasis, when it comes to cooperation between partners.

The EU will make further payments foreseen by these programmes of support to the Georgian state budget if conditions set in the respective bilateral agreements are met, the press release concludes.

Budget Support is an instrument used by the EU and other donors to assist governments in implementing key strategy reforms in full ownership. It consists in providing funds to the treasury following the realisation of the key objectives of a given reform programme in addition to contribution to the government efforts. Budget Support stimulates the establishment of a policy dialogue between the beneficiary country and the EU. (ENPI Info Centre)

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