Visa-free travel rules for citizens of Georgia and Ukraine in the Schengen area will only be possible once all requirements are met, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel ahead of the EU Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga.
Referring to a report of the European Commission on implementation of visa liberalisation action plan by Georgia and Ukraine, Merkel said that the both countries put a great deal of effort, but it is “not yet enough” and “a lot still needs to be done” by Georgia and Ukraine in this regard.
Merkel made the remarks while addressing Germany’s lower house of parliament, Bundestag, on May 21.
In her speech the German Chancellor said that Berlin’s position towards the Eastern Partnership is based on three elements.
The first one, she said, was that the Eastern Partnership “is not an instrument of the EU’s enlargement policy”, adding that the EU should not trigger false expectations of its Eastern partners in this regard.
Pointing to different level of interest among six Eastern Partnership countries in their relationship with the EU, Merkel named differentiated approach and applying tailor-made policies as the second element.
The third one, she said, was that the Eastern Partnership “is not directed against anyone, and not against Russia.”
Merkel said that amid developments in Ukraine and annexation of Crimea by Russia, “the idea of the Eastern Partnership is more important now than ever.”
She also said that Association Agreements, which the EU signed last year with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, should serve as a driving force of economic and democratic reforms in these three countries.
“It remains our goal that we fully implement the Association Agreement,” Merkel said.