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EU official: Georgia is close to final decision on visa-liberalisation with EU

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 11
The European Union (EU) Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, has told Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili that Georgia was “very close to gaining visa-liberalisation with the EU”.

For his part, Georgia’s PM stated that “the timely completion of the visa-liberalisation process was one of the key issues for the Georgian Government”.

The statements were made in Brussels on February 9, where Kvirikashvili met Avramopoulos and the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn.

“Georgia has successfully fulfilled all the technical demands and we are looking forward to visa-free travel with the EU,” Kvirikashvili said.

On this note, Avramopoulos stated that the European Commission’s positive report on Georgia’s visa-liberalisation in December 2015 proved the truth of the PM’s words.

“The European Commission is preparing to send a legal statement to the European Parliament and the member states. The final decision over Georgia’s visa-free travel to Europe should be made by the European Council and the European Parliament. It might happen in the summer, or earlier,” Avramopoulos said.

Hahn also approved of the successful implementation of the visa liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) by the country and noted that Georgia “was one of the leading states of the Eastern Partnership Initiative.”

The EU Commissioner also spoke about the EU’s future support to Georgia on its path towards membership in the Union.

The Georgian and the EU officials also discussed the Georgian-EU Association Agreement (AA) deal and the economic benefits provided through the agreement.

“Lately our trade relations with the EU have become more intense, as well as the inflow of foreign investments to Georgia. We are ready to fully use our free trade potential with the EU. It is our priority. We are ready to continue reforms in this regard,” Kvirikashvili said.

The PM noted that he “looked forward” to continuing dialogue with the EU in order to define new areas for deeper cooperation under the revised ENP (European Neighbourhood Policy) that will contribute to accelerating Georgia's progressive integration with the EU.

Kvirikashvili noted that the Government would ensure the transparency of this year’s parliamentary elections, as well as the freedom of the media, further judicial reforms and the engagement of civic society.