Agreement reached with European partners to start negotiations on liberalizing visa regime, Armenian PM says

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YEREVAN, May 18. /ARKA/. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said today that an agreement was reached with European partners to start negotiations on liberalizing the visa regime.

“However, we should understand that today migration is the most acute political problem in Europe. There are countries in the EU in which this problem is extremely serious, especially now in connection with the aggravation of the crisis in the Middle East,” he said.

“This is a very sensitive topic for the EU and for us. It is important in the context of relations, and we must move forward step by step, realizing that there are big problems,” Pashinyan said.

In late January 2019, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Johannes Hahn said there was no specific date for the start of the visa liberalization process between Armenia and the EU. In his words, before the European Parliament elections (May 2019 – ed.) there would be no initiatives in this direction, although the European Commission was positive on this issue.

On September 6, 2019, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan announced that the process of liberalizing the visa regime with the EU for Armenia would be active in 2020, but work and negotiations were already underway.

On February 26, the head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Andrea Viktorin, said that liberalization of the visa regime is provided for by the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the EU and Armenia, but the consent of all 27 countries is necessary to start negotiations.

CEPA was signed on November 24, 2017 and ratified by the Armenian parliament on April 11, 2018. Armenia is the only member of the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union that has signed a similar document with the EU.

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