Point of View

Making the impossible possible. The prospects for visa-free movement between the EU and its eastern partners

To make the abolition of visas in relations between the EU and the Eastern European countries possible, the ”spell cast” must be broken on this issue. With the present levels of mobility and people-to-people, business and political contacts the introduction of a visa-free regime will be a natural consequence of the liberalisation processes which have been at work for years.Moreover, the decision to lift the visa requirement is unlikely to significantly stimulate an increase in migration pressure from Eastern European countries but could reduce the operating costs of expanded Schengen consular network. Lifting the visa requirement for Eastern European citizens can be temporary and conditional and allow for actual implementation of an increased conditionality rule. In political terms, making visa liberalisation a key issue would fundamentally change the partners’ approach to the Eastern Partnership and would provide a link to the Partnership for Modernisation targeted at Russia.