European Commission: Georgia Meets Visa-Liberalization Requirements, But...

The European Commission’s Report on the fulfillment of visa-free requirements reads that Georgia meets visa liberalization requirements but needs to take immediate action in order to ensure continued progress in specific areas.

The Commission reported on the functioning of the visa-free regime with the Western Balkan countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as Eastern Partnership countries: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, saying all of them have successfully completed a visa liberalisation dialogue.

“The Commission considers that all 8 countries continue to fulfill the visa liberalization benchmarks, however further action – in some cases immediate – is required for a number of countries in specific areas to ensure continuous fulfillment of the benchmarks,” the report reads.

The factsheet reads that Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine are among those countries needing to take immediate action.

The report says irregular migration from Ukraine, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU remains high, while the increasing number of unfounded asylum applications in the EU from Moldovan and Georgian citizens is a source of concern.

“Georgia needs to take further immediate action to address irregular migration challenges, including the increasing numbers of unfounded asylum applications,” the report specified.

The Commission stressed that organized crime groups from the 8 countries are active across a broad range of criminal activities in the EU, including trafficking of illicit goods, property crime, money laundering, trafficking in human beings, drugs, migrant smuggling and cybercrime.

The report reads that the number of Georgian asylum-seekers to Europe significantly increased at the beginning of 2018.

The document notes that in the first six months of 2018, the number of applications of Georgian citizens seeking asylum in comparison with the same period of 2017 had doubled. Specifically, in the first half of 2017, 4,770 citizens of Georgia demanded shelter while in 2018 the number of applications was 9,680.

At the same time, Georgian citizens most frequently sought asylum in France (2,905), Germany (2,700), Switzerland, Greece, Spain and Italy.

By Thea Morrison



20 December 2018 11:39