YEREVAN, October 4. / ARKA /. The Armenian government decided today to unilaterally remove entry visas for the citizens of the EU and some other countries outside it which apply the provisions of the Schengen Agreement.
Deputy foreign minister Shavarsh Kocharian said the move will help deepen relations between Armenia and the EU in the field of tourism and will also prompt the European Union to facilitate entry visas for Armenian citizens. He said the talks on facilitation of visa procedures for Armenian citizens will end by the end of the year.
Earlier the government said that "According to the fifth part of the ninth article of the law" On foreign persons ", the Armenian government has decided to abolish entry visas for citizens of EU countries, beginning from January 10, 2013.” It said entry visas will be abolished also for citizens of some countries outside the EU, which apply the Schengen Agreement: they are Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. The citizens of these countries, according to the law "On foreign persons" may stay in Armenia without a visa for 90 days during one year. This decision shall take effect on the day after its official publication.
"This project needs to be reviewed in the context of broader foreign policy; in particular, Armenia has adopted a policy of rapprochement with the EU, and is in talks over the Association Agreement and the establishment of a free and comprehensive trade area," the government said.
On February 27 the EU’s Trade Commission decided to launch negotiations on a deep and comprehensive free trade area with Armenia to boost economic growth and investment. The launch of the trade negotiations was conditioned upon Armenia fulfilling a set of “key recommendations”. These were issued in June 2009 and covered necessary reforms in key regulatory areas related to trade, in order to prepare Armenia for the upcoming negotiations.
According to EU, Armenia made substantial reforms notably in the fields of technical regulations, sanitary and phytosanitary measures and the protection of intellectual property. The EU supported Armenia in this process, providing technical assistance in the framework of the European Neighborhood Partnership Instrument and the Comprehensive Institution Building program, as well as with the EU Member States’ support.
The EU has been negotiating an Association Agreement with Armenia since July 2010 in the framework of the Eastern Partnership and the European Neighborhood Policy. The future Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area will be part of this Agreement, which aims at closely associating this country to the EU both in economic and political terms, in line with the Eastern Partnership objectives. The future trade relations will therefore expand significantly beyond the scope of current cooperation, set out in the Partnership and Cooperation Agreements, in force since July 1999. -0-