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EU top official believes Georgia to receive a positive result over visa-liberalisation in December

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, November 30
The European Union (EU) Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, believes “Georgia will get a positive response over the visa-liberalisation with the European Union (EU) in mid-December this year”.

The EU top official made the statement after his November 26 meeting with Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelahsvili, diplomatic corps representatives, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and experts, all gathered at the Avlabari Presidential residence in the heart of Tbilisi.

“We have a special methodology when granting visa liberalisation, based on which we never differentiate between small and big countries, whether the nations are closer to the EU or not.

“I want to say that Georgia is acting very well. Of course, I cannot predict the content of the document released by the EU in December about Georgia, but I believe that the result will be positive,” Hahn said.

Speaking about Georgia’s European ambitions, Georgia’s President emphasised that the next, logical step for Georgia on the path to Europe would be visa liberalisation.

“Permitting visa-free travel to EU states will deepen trade and cultural ties between Georgia and the EU. It will provide more EU influence in Georgia and more Georgian influence in the EU. Such a solution carries the utmost importance for Georgian citizens,” Margvelashvili stated.

Touching on Georgia’s role in Europe, the President said that the country could play a crucial role in the process of connecting Europe with Asia.

“This is Georgia’s transit function. Georgia connects two significant business areas with one another,” Margvelashvili said, adding that Georgia has done its utmost to provide the best business climate, free from corruption and bureaucratic complications, to reveal itself as a loyal and effective business partner.

“It is important that we are in a free trade regime with European states, post-Soviet states and Turkey. We have launched negotiations on introducing free trade with China and we are eager to start such talks with the United States,” the President said.

When it came to regional security and stability, Margvelashvili stressed that Georgia was one of the initial states that had experienced Russian aggression for its free, European choice.

“Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, which are the leader countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) are facing serious territorial problems due to Russia, as the latter tries to expand its influence on neighbouring countries,” Margvelashvili stated.

The President underscored the fact that that despite permanent threats from Russia, Georgia has made significant contributions to international peace and implemented reforms to bring the country close to the EU.

“We are moving ahead to achieve our major, geopolitical goal, for Georgia to be an EU member state,” Margvelashvili said.

The same day, the EU official also met with Georgia’s Prime Minister.

After the bilateral meeting the Georgian PM stressed that his country “was ready to use all the unique advantages provided by Georgia’s close ties with the EU”.

The PM stressed that Georgia had carried out all the necessary reforms to take a genuine step to more tangible integration with the EU.

On this note, Hahn confirmed that the reforms implemented by Georgia to meet the obligations of the Georgian-EU Association Agreement (AA) signed last year were actually “stunning”.

He stressed that in response, the EU was ready to ensure more support, especially in the economic direction, to Georgia.

“Especially when we see that the capacity of investments is increasing in Georgia...when investments increase it is a vivid signal of stability in the area,” Hahn said.