EC Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements: Implementing a New EU Security Approach in the Neighbourhood

CEPS Working Document No. 290/April 2008

With the Eastern Enlargement successfully completed, the EU is searching for a proper
balance between internal security and external stabilisation that is acceptable to all sides.
This paper focuses on an EU foreign policy instrument that is a case in point for this struggle:
EC visa facilitation and readmission agreements. By looking at the EU’s strategy on visa
facilitation and readmission, this paper aims to offer a first systematic analysis of the
objectives, substance and political implications of these agreements. The analysis considers
the instrument of EC visa facilitation and readmission agreements as a means to implement a
new EU security approach in the neighbourhood. In offering more relaxed travel conditions in
exchange for the signing of an EC readmission agreement and reforming domestic justice and
home affairs, the EU has found a new way to press for reforms in neighbouring countries
while addressing a major source of discontent in these countries.