“The European Commission concluded that Georgia has fulfilled all of the criteria for visa liberalization, and of course Germany didn’t oppose this recommendation. In combination with the suspension mechanism, the visa liberalization decision will be taken in favor of Georgia,” stated German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a press-conference after meeting Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on June 15 in Berlin.
Georgia’s PM and meets German Chancellor in Berlin
By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, June 17
When speaking about Georgia’s visa liberalization, Merkel did not specify the exact date when visa liberalization will come into effect, but said the decision will not take long. She noted that the suspension mechanism is not directly linked to Georgia and it is needed to prevent the abuse of visa-free travel in general.
The German Chancellor touched upon the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement (AA), saying the AA increased business contacts between Georgia and the EU states.
Merkel also welcomed Tbilisi’s “pragmatic” policies with Russia and reiterated Germany’s strong support for Georgia’s territorial integrity.
“We are glad that Georgia takes very pragmatic steps in its relationship with Russia…we support Georgia’s territorial integrity with South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” she added.
According to the Chancellor, Georgia has implemented successful reforms in recent years. According to her, Germany follows the ongoing economic reforms and economic liberalization in Georgia with interest.
“If we look at world rankings about competitiveness and transparency, Georgia has had amazing successes,” Merkel said, and hoped it would improve economic ties between Georgia and German companies.
The German Chancellor stressed that bilateral relations between Georgia and Germany are very good, the visits of Georgia's senior government officials to Germany and the German Foreign Minister's visit to Georgia (scheduled for July) serving as proof.
“We see great success and great progress achieved by Georgia, and let us move forward step by step; Germany is your good friend and partner,” Merkel stated.
The PM thanked the Chancellor and Germany for the strong support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty over the last 25 years. He also pointed out that the visits of German tourists to Georgia increase every year and hoped that Georgia will enjoy visa-free travel to the EU soon.
“After signing the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement with the EU, short-term visa-free travel for Georgian citizens will be another important step forward in the direction of Georgia’s EU integration,” Kvirikashvili said, and noted that many reforms have been implemented in Georgia. Legislative and institutional capacities have been strengthened in order for Europe to feel safe with regards to visa-free rules for Georgia.
PM Kvirikashvili said that Georgia and Germany are together fighting for peace and stability in the region.
"We are a small country, but we proudly stand side by side with Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in various international missions against terrorism. We are firmly taking steps towards NATO integration,” he claimed.
According to the Georgian leader, the importance of the Warsaw Summit to be held in July was discussed and he thanked Germany for its important contribution to the implementation of the NATO-Georgia substantial package.
"For us - for everyone in Europe - it is vital for Europe to be united and peaceful. For this it is necessary to continue the democratic transformation of Eastern Europe successfully. A European future is the Georgian people’s historic, informed and irreversible choice,” Kvirikashvili stressed.
Moreover, the Georgian PM said that 2017 would be the Year of Georgia-Germany Friendship. He invited the German Chancellor to Georgia to celebrate the Georgia-Germany Friendship Year together.
Furthermore, on June 15 the Georgian PM met Bundestag President Norbert Lammert and the Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka. Kvirikashvili also attended a working dinner with representatives of German business circles.