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Visa waiver finalised soon

By Messenger Staff
Monday, December 12
Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, has expressed hope that all procedures related to visa liberalisation in the European Union (EU) will come to an end in the near future and Georgia will soon be granted a visa waiver in the EU’s Schengen Zone.

Kvirikashvili welcomed the agreement between the Council of Europe and the European Parliament over the Suspension Mechanism, and thanked Georgia’s friends and allies in Brussels and other European capitals for their support in the Georgia-EU visa liberalisation process.

“A range of procedures are still ahead and we are step-by-step following the process and hope all visa liberalisation-related procedures will be completed very soon,” Kvirikashvili stated.

“Georgia has already met all its obligations drafted within the Georgia-EU Visa Liberalisation Action Plan and, of course, our friends in Brussels and other European capitals helped very much in the process,” the Prime Minister added.

Kvirikashvili highlighted that Euro-integration was a key strategic priority for Georgia, which significantly specified the agenda for inter-state reforms.

It is welcome news that the EU structures agreed on the Suspension Mechanism, which concenrs rules that could be used if a country violated certain visa-free travel regulations.

The Suspension Mechanism means that a country can be deprived of visa-free travel in the Schengen Zone if the number of immigrants increased from the state, or if citizens of the country commit crimes.

After agreeing on the rules, certain procedures and discussions are left to take place in the EU before Georgia’s and Ukraine’s visa liberalisation will be voted on in the European Parliament.

It is likely the process for Georgia to be finalised in spring 2017, as the Georgian authorities believe the European Parliament will approve Georgia-EU visa-free travel.

Until this happens, it is very important for the Government to take actions to inform people what visa liberalisation really means, what procedures are needed to spend 90 days in the Schengen Zone without visas, and what rules they must adhere to.

It is imperative that Georgia do all it can to avoid the activation of the Suspension Mechanism if Georgia-EU visa-free travel comes into action.