"We are going to explore options for visa liberalization with Armenia. This means we will start the process to see whether it's feasible, whether it's possible," The European Commission’s lead spokesperson for foreign affairs and security policy Peter Stano said in an interview with Armenpress, APA reports.
Visa liberalization is something that is very important because it's tangible and visible for people, Peter Stano said.
"But it's also something where all the Member States need to agree eventually and where there are also tasks to be fulfilled on the side of the partner country, in this case of Armenia, but again, it's important that there is an agreement. We want to start to look at the options and explore the possibility of visa liberalization. So, we are launching a process. This is the start of the process, but it is a process that eventually, if everything goes well, might bring a lot of benefits for the Armenian citizens," Spokesperson noted.
Peter Stano adds that in general, for visa liberalization, there are technical requirements that means biometric passports, for example, but also political requirements: "First of all, that people are not forced to leave the country and claim asylum. Because this is one of the main priorities when it comes to visa."
"Free visa regimes that we don't want to have sudden increase of asylum seekers and in order to prevent the misuse of the, let's say, visa free or liberalized travel regime. So political criteria and technical logistical criteria on the side of the applicant and then of course the Member States need to be convinced, need to be assured that everything has been done on the side of the partner country that the visa liberalization in this case will not be misused," European Commission’s lead spokesperson stressed.