As reports, the European Union has decided on the abolition of the visa-obligation of Ukrainian and Georgian citizens.

After long discussions, the representatives of the member states of the EU and the members of the European Parliament have agreed on giving Ukrainian and Georgian citizens visa freedom, however, it can be suspended in case of emergency or concerns for emergency. This way 45 million Ukrainian and 5 million Georgian citizens can enter the Schengen Area without a visa.

An interesting addition is that the majority of Schengen visa-requests are from Russia: nearly 3.5 million requests were handed in by Russian citizens in 2015 (and the ratio of rejection is the lowest, only 1.3 %). They are followed by the Chinese with nearly 2.4 million visa requests (with the rejection ratio of 2.8 %) then the Ukrainians come with 1.1 million requests and a 3.4 % rejection. The Turkish are ranked fourth: they handed in 860,000 visa requests in 2015, 3.9 % of them were rejected.

How visa freedom can be suspended in the future

The temporary suspension of visa freedom can be ordained by the initiative of the simple-majority of the member-states or the European Commission, without the involvement of the European Parliament. The change must be formally approved by the plenum of the European Parliament and the council of the ministers.

The “emergency break” can be used, if, for example, the migration pressure increases from one of the countries, or when people coming from a country stay longer than the validation of their visa allowes, and this becomes a mass phenomenon. Besides this, another reason can be if a country does not take the immigrants back.

Visa freedom against a third country can be reinstated, if there is a possible danger of the breach of peace because of their citizens, or their presence endangers the inner safety.

In case of the temporary reintroduction of the visa obligation the European Commission should start immediate discussions with the given country to cease the interim situation as soon as possible.

Robert Kalinák, Slovakian Home Secretary said after the agreement that the compliance is well-balanced and important in terms of the authenticity and efficiency of the EU visa policy.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Copy editor: bm


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