This time last year, a small Georgian delegation led by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili left for a historic trip on which Georgians travelled visa-free for the first time to the European Union (EU).
Congratulating everyone on the one year anniversary, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said visa-free travel is a great opportunities for Georgian citizens to travel across Europe.
Minister Janelidze believes the visa liberalization process has brought a lot of other tangible results like tourism development, new business connections, the enlargement of student exchange programs and people-to-people communication, in general.
Visa-free travel opportunity with the EU-member states has not only a practical but political importance because Georgia has thus made yet another step forward to the European family”, Minister Janelidze said.
He believes the support Georgia has received from the EU for its European aspirations highlights how reliable partner Georgia is.
Georgian and EU flags were flying at the Europe Square in Tbilisi as people celebrated the milestone – the EU visa waiver last year. Photo by N. Alavidze/Agenda.ge.
Appealing to Georgian citizens to contribute to preserving this achievement, Janelidze said this historic decision is the result of the consistent steps made by the government of Georgia and the European choice of the Georgian people.
Georgian Parliamentary Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze congratulated people on the anniversary in a video address highlighting the importance of how Georgia positions itself with its European friends.
Speaking about the challenges that are connected with visa-free travel opportunity, including violation of the terms of stay in EU/Schengen Zone for Georgian citizens, Kobakhidze said parliament is ready to discuss further changes to the law with the government "to increase responsibility towards [our] European friends”.
During his visit to Athens last year, PM Kvirikashvili, together with students and scholars, enjoyed the site of the Athenian Acropolis Complex. Photo by the PM's press office.
The regulation lifting visa requirements for Georgians entered into effect on March 28, 2017.
Georgian citizens holding biometric passports can travel to the EU’s Schengen Zone for a period of 90 days within any 180-day period for purposes other than working.
According to the Georgian Interior Ministry, within a year of the Georgia-EU visa free agreement, 192,453 Georgian citizens have visited the Schengen Zone 258,663 times.