Final steps for visa free movement
By Messenger Staff
Friday, October 7Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has congratulated the Georgian population on the decision of the Council of Europe (CoE) Georgia-European Union (EU) visa-liberalisation issue to be discussed and voted on in the European Parliament (EP), which is the final stage of the process.
“The support of various institutions and member states of the European Union for Georgia is an acknowledgement of the explicit European aspirations of our people and reforms implemented by our country,” Kvirikashvili said.
“I wish to express my enormous gratitude to our international partners and friends of our country, who invested all their efforts in the due recognition of the progress achieved by Georgia,” Kvirikashvili said.
Following this, the PM congratulated Georgians “on this truly milestone achievement.”
“I also wish to convey my gratitude to the public institutions and civil servants that have been doing their very best in soliciting the visa liberalization with EU in the recent years,” he said.
The PM stressed it was important that this positive message was voiced by the EU a few days before the election date, “thus manifesting in the high recognition of our reforms and progress”.
The current Government tried to win Georgia's visa-liberalisation before the October 8 parliamentary elections, as this could boost people’s support of the ruling party.
Georgia waited for visa-free travel in the summer, but Germany, France and Belgium’s last-minute turnaround blocked Georgia’s visa-free travel to the EU, despite the European Commission confirming that Georgia had fulfilled all its obligations to be awarded visa-free travel.
The foreign media reported that the reason Germany refused Georgia was due to the current migrant crisis and crimes committed by Georgian nationals - mainly robberies and burglaries - in Germany.
Now the country claims they support Georgia-EU visa-free travel.
It is a welcome that Georgia has gained the support of the CoE, but more important will be the final outcome.
Rejecting Georgia at the final stage would be taken very negatively by Georgians, as they have been consistently told that the country has fulfilled all its obligations to gain visa-free access to the Schengen Zone.
If Georgia receives visa-free travel, Georgian citizens will be able to stay for 90 days in any 180-day period without visas in the EU’s passport-free Schengen Zone.