Eastern Partnership Visa Liberalisation Index shows the progress made by all the Eastern Partnership countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – on the way to visa-free travel with the European Union in an accessible and interactive way. On this website you can find up-to-date, independent assessment of the fulfillment of criteria for visa liberalization by all the six Eastern Partnership countries. This unique tool gives you an opportunity to check and compare the progress made by each EaP state in each required policy area.
Visa liberalisation between the European Union and the Eastern Partnership is both a political and a technical process. Since visa policy is aimed as a safeguard against unlimited and unwanted migration as well as trans-border organised crime, visa-free regime is granted to countries that are deemed safe and well-governed, ensuring security and public order and not being a potential source of undocumented economic migrants or asylum seekers. Thus, visa liberalisation is conditional upon meeting a number of criteria in several policy areas.
So far, out of the six Eastern Partnership countries, only three have been granted a clear set of benchmarks to meet in order to start negotiations on visa-free regime with the EU. Both Moldova and Ukraine received the Visa Liberalisation Action Plans in 2010, and Georgia in 2013. Moldova fulfilled all criteria of the Plan and since 28 April 2014 the visa-free regime has been established between Moldova and the EU. All documents are very similar and contain a list of criteria grouped into four policy areas: (1) security of documents, including biometrics; (2) migration including readmission; (3) public security and order; and (4) external relations and fundamental rights. Additionally, the process has been divided into two phases: the legislative phase and the implementation phase. The European Commission first checks the level of legislative and institutional alignment, and only then passes on to the evaluation of how well the introduced legislative and institutional reforms are implemented.
However, irrespective of whether visa liberalisation dialogue has been already started with the EU or not, in all the six EaP states the reforms in question are on-going. All the EaP countries have made progress within the past year and are closer to visa-free regime with the EU, including Belarus, which does not have any official dialogue on visa policy with the EU. In what follows, the major changes as well as challenges for each country are presented.
When exploring the Index, you can look at the situation in each policy area with regard to legislation and implementation separately. The upper bar on every graph represents the score for legislative phase and the lower bar – the implementation phase. Each Block is divided into several policy issues. You can explore the Index by policy Block and then go deeper to examine every policy issue within the Block, or you can explore the Index by Country, there you also have a possibility of going deeper to examine each policy issue in a given country. By ticking show changelogs, you can see the recent policy changes in every country divided according to policy Blocks.
The official state of play can be seen by clicking on the round diagram in the right-band corner.