Swedish MP Björn Söder has proposed that Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström initiate a process aimed at granting Armenian residents visa-free travel to the European Union.
In Söder’s view, for Armenia, which is now “increasingly turning towards the West” and has “a desire to sever ties with Russia”, the introduction of a visa-free regime would bring “tangible benefits” by bringing the country closer to the EU and Europe as a whole.
“There are now great opportunities for Armenia to join Europe and to be accepted into the European family to which it belongs”
Against this background, Söder, recalling that Sweden now holds the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, asked Billström whether he would consider raising the issue of “starting a process within the EU to introduce visa-free travel from Armenia to the European Union”. The parliamentarian also stressed the importance of recognising the genocide of the Armenian people.
A Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) is currently in force between the EU and Armenia. It is the legal basis for the parties’ partnership, according to the Armenian Foreign Ministry’s website. Yerevan is also a party to the Eastern Partnership, a special area of European Neighbourhood Policy aimed at deepening relations between the EU, its member states and six former Soviet states – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus (suspended participation), Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Three of these countries – Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia – have a visa-free entry regime into the EU. It entitles nationals of these countries to stay within the Schengen area for a total of up to 90 days every six months.