3 DCFTAs Op-ed. Three dimensions of risk to visa liberalization in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine

Op-ed No 17/2019

 

The visa-free regime extended to Moldova in 2014 and to Ukraine and Georgia in 2017 has marked an important milestone in their relationships with the European Union. As a result, traveling to Europe has been eased and turned into an indispensable normality for citizens from the three countries, provided that they own biometric passports and follow the rules of stay. More than 2 million of Moldovans, representing more than 65% of the population, crossed the European borders more than 6 million times in 5 years. Out of 2 million Moldovans who enjoyed visa-free regime approx. 25% were youth between 26-35 years old. Over 300.000 Georgians or 8.1% of all citizens experienced the visa exemptions in the first 2 years of its implementation. In Ukraine, this number has reached 5.6% (2.5 million persons) out of 44 million citizens.

However, the freedom of circulation within the Schengen area for non-EU citizens is not a fixed commodity and rules have to be respected. The political and technical criteria need to be well in order to avoid a reversal of visa liberalization. But for such an eventuality to come, one or all three of the following circumstances should emerge.

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