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EU Commissioner: Georgians to Enjoy Visa-free Regime with EU from Late March

European Union (EU) Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos stated at the meeting with Georgian Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili on February 27, that citizens of Georgia will be able to have the benefit of short-term visa-free travel in Schengen member countries from late March.

The EU Commissioner reiterated that Georgia has made progress in all areas and the EU recognizes this.

The PM’s Press Office reports that the officials discussed visa-liberalization issues, as well as plans to develop migration and security ties between the EU and Georgia.

The officials held a joint press conference after the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council adopted a regulation on visa liberalization for Georgians travelling to the EU for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period.

“This result proves that the EU has not reneged on its promise. Today, the European spirit is stronger in Georgia than anywhere else. The European ideology triumphs in Georgia more than ever. A unified Europe with its common foreign, security and economic policies would be embraced by Georgia and its citizens. My fellow Georgians, I congratulate you on this day! I also congratulate Europe because Georgia, as an integral part of European civilization, has drawn even closer today to its European family,” Kvirikashvili stated.

Kvirikashvili thanked Dimitris Avramopoulos for his contribution to the Georgia-EU visa liberalization process. He also thanked the EU member states and the European Parliament for their support.

“Visa-free access to the European Union will bring tangible, concrete benefits to the citizens of Georgia. Visa-free travel to the EU member states will promote closer tourism, educational, cultural, and business relations between our societies, also contributing to the introduction and advancement of European values and ideals in Georgia,” said Kvirikashvili, adding that the Georgian government fully understands the responsibility that follows the implementation of visa-free travel to EU.

The EU Commissioner also congratulated Georgians, adding the decision of the EU Council was another step towards the completion of the process.

“I am absolutely sure that Georgians will maintain the conditions of the process, and will fulfill the relevant requirements… A final decision has already been made and the time has come to celebrate this step forward together,” Avramopoulos stated.

Moreover, Kvirikashvili and Avramopoulos had a walk along the recently renewed Aghmashenebeli Avenue, where they had a meeting with representatives of Georgian culture, education and science at a local café.

Avramopoulos said that he had personally been working to aid the process of helping Georgia achieve this important aim over the course of the last two years.

The European Parliament (EP) voted in favor of visa-free travel for Georgian citizens to the Schengen Area at the plenary session on February 2nd.

When the process is complete, biometric passport holders will be able to enter the Schengen area, which includes 22 EU member states (excluding Ireland, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria) in addition to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland for 90 days within any 180-day period for a holiday, business, or any other purpose, except work.

Thea Morrison

27 February 2017 20:29