Emerging Europe: EU visa-liberalisation strengthens Georgia's pro-western path

29 Jul 2017

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By Salome Modebadze

Reviewed by the journalist of Agenda.ge

Agenda.ge,29 Jul 2017 Tbilisi,Georgia

"On 2 February 2017, the inhabitants of Georgian capital, Tbilisi, saw the city’s two landmarks — the Bridge of Peace and the TV tower lit up in the colours of the EU flag, marking the day when the European Parliament adopted a visa-free regime for Georgia”, political scientist Tomasz Filipiak says.

In an opinion piece published in Emerging Europe today, Filipiak gives an overview of the visa-free travel opportunities between Georgia and European Union.

For the time being the EU’s visa liberalisation for Georgia allows both sides of the deal to consider themselves as its beneficiaries, even though it is accompanied by a strict suspension mechanism”, the author said.

He further noted that "the real effects of the agreement will only be known in several months, it is a rare example of a win-win situation in the European neighbourhood; a much needed and desired success story amidst growing chaos”.

The launch of a visa-free regime allows the Georgian Dream government, re-elected in October 2016, to demonstrate its effectiveness and ability to deliver concrete results in the much-emphasised European integration agenda that it inherited, and to some extent hijacked, from Mikhail Saakashvili’s United National Movement”, the author said

Citing Chairman of the Georgia’s Parliamentary Committee on European Integration, Tamar Khulordava, Filipiak said "around 11,700 Georgians used the visa-free travel to the Schengen zone in the first month after the visa free regime went into force”.

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