Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Member-states of the European Union convened in the Justice and Home Affairs Council decided to adopt temporary restrictive measures on short-stay visas for applicants who are nationals of The Gambia in line with the provisions of the EU Visa Code.
A statement made available to PANA here Monday said the decision was the result of a factual and objective assessment concluded by the European Commission in February 2021 of EU partner countries’ cooperation in the area of return and readmission of migrants who have no right to stay in the EU.
The statement pointed out that on the basis of this assessment, the European Commission concluded in July 2021 that the level of cooperation with some countries, including The Gambia, was not sufficient and submitted a proposal for temporary visa measures.
According to the statement, the EU, reaching the same conclusion, has now adopted the temporary visa measures as presented, that the EU has, throughout the year, continued to engage with the authorities of The Gambia informing them of the process under the EU Visa Code.
The overall positive relationship between the EU and The Gambia was taken into due consideration at all stages of the process, the statement noted.
“As in every partnership, the one between The Gambia and the EU warrants a commitment to responsibilities on both sides. It is our hope that the measures agreed today will foster and improve cooperation between the EU and The Gambia in the area of return and readmission.
These are very important pillars of a comprehensive and tailor-made migration partnership with The Gambia,” said Corrado Pampaloni, ambassador of the European Union to The Gambia.
The statement further pointed out that the adopted measures would not affect the possibility of applying for a short stay visa or modify the conditions for being granted a visa.
“All applicants have to submit a full set of documentary evidence, the 15 calendar days processing period is suspended – this means that the processing of visa applications will take longer; the issuing of multiple entry visas is suspended; this means that systematically single entry visas will be issued and the optional visa fee waiver for holders of diplomatic and service passports is also suspended,” the statement disclosed.
The statement also noted that those measures did not apply to the following categories of visa applicants or situations of family members of EU citizens or other beneficiaries of free movement in the EU.
The statement added: “Nationals of The Gambia applying for a visa for the purpose of attending meetings of international intergovernmental organizations or of international conferences hosted by a Member State and nationals of The Gambia for whom the visa requirement is waived under Article 4 and 6 of the 'Visa Regulation', as for example civilian air and sea crew members on duty or recognized refugees residing in a EU Member State those measures do not apply to them.”
The statement pointed out that in six months from the adoption of measures, the European Commission will assess whether progress is achieved and if measures in place require adapting or repealing.
-0-PANA MSS/RA 11Oct2021