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Steinmeier supports Georgia’s visa-liberalistaion

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, June 21
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he is a big supporter of visa-free travel in the European Union (EU) passport-free Schengen zone for Georgian citizens, and praises Georgia for its achievements on its path towards the Euro-Atlantic integration.

The German official made this statement several days ago, when Georgian and German politicians gathered in Berlin at an event dedicated to Georgia’s 25th anniversary of independence from the Soviet Union.

“I am a big supporter of Georgia’s visa liberalisation with the EU. I am sure that citizens of Georgia want visa-free travel very much, as their country has fulfilled all its obligations to gain the opportunity,” Steinmeier stated.

“I am confident and I strongly believe that we will come to a decision beneficial for the people of Germany and Georgia,” Steinmeier added.

The German official stressed that the last few weeks had been dedicated to an intense dialogue between Georgia and Germany to settle all the issues creating obstacles for Georgia’s visa liberalisation with the EU.

Steinmeier also said Georgia could be proud of its inheritance, independence and democratic reforms.

“I believe Georgia and Georgians can be proud of their independence, centuries-old language, literature and artistic traditions, as well as those ambitions and democratic reforms Georgia managed to carry out as the country strived towards inclusion in Europe.

“I want to state that Germany has always supported and will support Georgia’s European integration,” Steinmeier said.

Shortly before the event, Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held a face-to-face meeting with Steinmeier and the officials decided that the German official would visit Georgia in early July.

At the same time, 2017 was announced as the year of Georgia-Germany friendship.

The PM’s trip came shortly after the German-French-Belgian last-minute refusal over Georgia’s visa-free travel prospects with the EU, despite the fact the European Commission stressed that Georgia had fulfilled all the obligations for visa-free travel.

Discussing the Georgia visa liberalistaion issue in the Council and Parliament of Europe is expected to continue in September.

Foreign media reported the reason of refusal from Germany was the current migrant crisis and crimes - mainly robberies and burglaries - committed by Georgian nationals in Germany.

However, the foreign media also said the solution was a unfair, as the country had fulfilled all its obligations with a population of slightly more than three million could not be a threat to Germany and Europe, especially after Germany gave asylum to thousands of Muslim migrants.

It will be good if German officials keep their promise and will not oppose Georgia’s visa liberalization, as statements and praise alone are not enough; Georgia requires more definite messages that its efforts are appreciated by the EU and NATO.