The messenger logo

EU states conditions for easier visa regime

By Messenger staff
Monday, September 8
Following the Russian aggression the EU has proposed to make the visa regime for Georgian citizens wishing to enter or remain in EU countries easier. This is part of a wider format of what amount to free trade agreement regulations.

The Georgian Government has expressed its utmost satisfaction with the EU’s statements and has cheerfully labeled the decision as ‘yet another victory.’ But economic experts are more skeptical, because the EU has determined certain preconditions for this relaxation which Georgia cannot easily meet.

Lado Papava, former MP and Minister of Economy said that the first demand concerns changing the Labour Code. The current one adopted through the initiative of State Minister Kakha Bendukidze is very “employer-specific”. It practically ignores the rights of employees. The second precondition concerns the regulatory function of the Anti-Monopoly Service which promotes free and fair competition. Since 2004 anti-monopolistic legislation has been gradually dismembered by the same Bendukidze.

A third precondition concerns the safety of food products. The country does not so far have an appropriate food product safety control system. If free trade conditions are fully implemented in Georgia the country should satisfy European expectations. Unfortunately the anomalies in these three areas create serious concerns over Georgia’s ability to comply with EU free trade standards.

Lado Papava thinks that effecting such changes needs more action and fewer words. Serious changes should be implemented in economic policy, but to do this appropriate expertise, goodwill and commitment are needed.