European Parliament approves readmission and visa agreements with Cape Verde

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The European Parliament voted on 11 September to conclude to an agreement on the readmission into Cape Verde of persons residing in the EU without authorisation (and vice-versa, from Cape Verde to the EU), alongside an EU-Cape Verde short-stay visa facilitation agreement.

The Council and Cape Verde signed the readmission agreement in April 2013 and the visa facilitation agreement in October 2012 (pdfs) but they cannot be concluded without Parliament's consent. Over
80% of MEPs voted in favour the readmission agreement and over
90% in favour of the visa agreement (VoteWatch, links).

The Parliament's explanatory statement (pdf) notes that the two agreements are "interdependent and parallel". The signing of a visa facilitation agreement was dependent upon the signing of readmission agreement, in the framework of the EU-Cape Verde Mobility Partnership signed in 2008.

The explanatory statement also says that the two agreements "will push out the frontiers of the area of liberty and security, extending it beyond the European Union," and that the two agreements are "a step forward in the relations between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde". They are the first agreements on readmission and short-stay visas concluded between the EU and a member country of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), which has 79 members and whose relations with the EU are governed by the Cotonou Agreement.

Under Article 2 of the agreement Cape Verde is obliged to:

"[R]eadmit, upon application by a Member States and without further formalities other than those provided for in this agreement, all persons who do not, or who no longer, fulfil the conditions in force for entry to, presence in, or residence on, the territory of the requesting Member States provided that it is proved, or may be validly assumed on the bassi of prima facie evidence furnished, that they are nationals of Cape Verde."

The country is also obliged to readmit:

  • "[M]inor unmarried children of the persons referred to in paragraph 1, regardless of the place of birth or their nationality," unless they have residence rights in the Member State wishing to expel their parents;
  • "[S]pouses, holding another nationality, of the persons referred to in paragraph 1, provided they have the right to enter and stay or receive the right to enter and stay in the territory of Cape Verde, unless they have an independent right of residence in the requesting Member State";
  • Persons "deprived of, or who have renounced, the nationality of Cape Verde since entering the territory of a Member State, unless such persons have at least been promised naturalisation by a Member State."

    And, under Article 3, third-country nationals and stateless persons who no longer fulfil the conditions for entry, presence or residence in an EU Member State must be readmitted to Cape Verde as long as it can be proved or "validly assumed on the basis of prima facie evidence" that they:

    (a) hold or held at the time of entering the territory in question a valid visa issued by Cape Verde, accompanied by legal proof of entry to the territory of Cape Verde, or a valid residence permit issued by Cape Verde; or

    (b) illegally entered the territory of a Member State coming directly form Cape Verde and that their prior presence in the territory of Cape Verde has been established.

    The same obligations apply to EU Member States (Articles 4 and 5). The agreements will both enter into force at the same time, on the first day of the second month following the date on which the EU and Cape Verde inform each other that their internal procedures have been completed. This process will presumably take place in the coming weeks.

    Full texts (pdfs, not yet published in the Official Journal):

  • Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde on the readmission of persons residing without authorisation
  • Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Cape Verde on facilitating the issue of short-stay visas to citizens of the Republic of Cape Verde and of the European Union (original document and correction)

    Further reading

  • EU-MOROCCO: Political agreement on Mobility Partnership: Towards the first readmission agreement with an African country?, Statewatch News Online, March 2013
  • Marie Martin, Extension of Mobility Partnerships with Euro-Mediterranean Partners, Statewatch Database
  • EU-Cape Verde: The EU signed a visa facilitation agreement with Cape Verde on 26 October, Statewatch News Online, October 2012
  • EU: Serbia is "no longer a safe third country" but Commission says that readmission "functions smoothly", Statewatch News Online, 25 September 2012
  • EU silent on the conclusion of a readmission clause with Iraq, Statewatch News Online, July 2012

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