Georgian Diplomats Discuss Visa-Liberalization Challenges

Georgia’s Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze, had a meeting with Georgian diplomats late on Tuesday to discuss preventive measures for the increased number of Georgian asylum seekers arriving in European Union countries.

The diplomats also discussed ways of avoiding the activation of the suspension mechanism from the EU structures, which will suspend Georgia’s main successful achievement of the last year – the visa-free regime with the European Union.

This issue became acute after the three countries - Germany, France and Sweden, expressed concern over the significant increase of asylum seekers from Georgia, adding that crime committed by them has also increased.

Georgia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Belgium and Luxembourg, Permanent Representative in the European Union, Natalie Sabanadze, also attended the meeting. According to her, at present there is no threat of suspension of the legislation.

“We talked about the ways and measures to improve the situation. There are two main ways  - cooperation with the EU law enforcement agencies and carrying out a large-scale campaign in the country,” she added.

The statistical information of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia reads that 226,655 Georgians enjoyed visa-free travel to the Schengen zone during the period from the launch of the visa-free travel (March 28, 2017) to February 10, 2018.

The Ministry added 767 citizens were refused entry to the Schengen zone. 

Statistical data published by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Germany says that in September 2017, 238 citizens of Georgia demanded asylum in Germany, adding this number significantly increased in the following months. In October, the number of asylum seekers was 355, in November - 444, in December - 522 and in January - 745.

By Thea Morrison

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German Minister: Preservation of Visa Liberalization Depends on Georgia

21 February 2018 09:01