EurActiv: “Georgia’s achievements must be recognised”

In 2014, the European Parliament passed a resolution that would allow Georgia to apply for EU membership. Tbilisi has not set a date for this yet. Photo: George Mel/Flickr, Oct 11, 2016, Tbilisi, Georgia

"Georgia has made big changes to meet its commitments to the European Union (EU). We must recognise this and not let them down on the question of visa-free travel.”

This remark belongs to Finnish Member of the European Parliament and co-president of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Heidi Hautala, which was published in EurActiv, an independent European media platform specialising in the online publication of articles dealing with European news and European-centric topics.

In her opinion piece Hautala stressed Georgia was one of the few bright lights among countries of the Eastern Partnership.

It is all the more regrettable, therefore, that there has been a delay in agreeing the visa liberalisation regime between Georgia and the EU before the Georgian parliamentary elections on 8 October. This is unfortunate as the Commission stated nearly a year ago that Georgia has fulfilled all the necessary requirements,” the Finnish politician said.

She noted the negotiation position adopted by the permanent representatives committee (Coreper) on Wednesday, October 5 was encouraging, as it seemed that the Council had finally been able to overcome its previous doubts about granting visa-free travel to Georgia.

Ideally the process could be finalised before the end of the year. But the outcome is tied to the entry into force of a new suspension mechanism which is still subject to negotiations between the member states and the Parliament,” Hautala said.

She believed the EU should not miss the positive mood prevailing in Georgian society.

We should take robust steps and complete the visa liberalisation without any further delay. This is essential for the overall credibility and success of the Eastern Partnership,” she added.

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