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Believe me, as a representative of a country which uses the Schengen system very often, it is quite important. Vardanyan (video)

 Mr Vladimir VARDANYAN from the Group of the European People's Party from Armenia:Thank you Madam Chair.

Every time when I am addressing the issue concerning visa regulations I remember the famous Erich Maria Remarque's Arch of Triumph, I try to understand how it was important for Europe in this last century to pass away from the very complicated system of getting a visa to travel to each other's countries, up to the establishment of the system where each and every EU citizen is allowed to travel inside of the European Union, as well as giving the priority, giving the right of the people of third countries to apply once for all the member states.

The Schengen system is one of the main assets of the European Union. Believe me, as a representative of a country which uses the Schengen system very often and who understands the value of the Schengen visa, it is quite important. It is really a desire to be in a club which is called the Schengen Union or the Schengen Area.

For sure, being so open, the European Union tries to secure the issue concerning entry to the European Union via the Schengen system. And here, for sure, we should take into account that everybody knows that the right to give permission to get into this or that country is totally a prerogative of a single state. But, you know, the Schengen system is not just a single state with the entry. The Schengen system is also a value system. When we are speaking about Schengen, we should speak about the values and it is not just an ordinary right of the state to allow or not to allow a person to enter. For sure, it is the prerogative, the sovereign prerogative of the states, but simultaneously, we should not forget that all the EU member states are covered by the European Commission of Human Rights.

And it is quite important that the system should not be misused – especially in cases when some political consideration may affect it, and especially discrimination, affects the right to enter to the Schengen Zone. 

You know the people in our region do believe that the European Union should be as democratic outside as it is inside and the right to see relatives or travel or to share European values should be respected and all the commitments of the Schengen value system should be a pillar for building a wider and better Europe. Thank you.