EU welcomes Georgia’s visa liberalisation progress

Georgia’s PM and Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship at the European Commission, Dimitris Avramopoulos in Brussels., 17 Nov 2014 - 17:40, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Union (EU) is welcoming Georgia’s progress as it implements the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP).

The country successfully completed the first phase of the visa liberalisation process and moved into phase two on October 29. EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos met Georgia’s Prime Minister and Justice Minister in Brussels today, where he said he was ready to provide assistance to Georgia as it implemented the legislative, policy and institutional framework of phase two of the VLAP.

The EU’s first mission will visit Georgia on November 24 and prepare a progress report on Georgia’s implementation of the second phase of the VLAP.

Georgian Government officials expected it could be possible for Georgian citizens to travel to EU member countries visa free after the Eastern Partnership Summit (EaP) in Riga next spring.

"We told Mr. Avramopoulos that Georgia’s goal is the Riga Summit to become the next stage of Georgia’s progress,” Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani said after meeting the EU Commission official. "He shared Greece’s experience of what EU membership means including receiving all the benefits EU citizens have. However, receiving those benefits also outline the protection of the country’s traditions as it happened in the case of Greece,” she said.

Meanwhile PM Irakli Garibashvili focused on the specific results Georgia achieved during implementation of phase one of the VLAP during the meeting.

He believed the recently adopted law of Protecting Personal Data, the Migration Strategy and Action Plan, the National Strategy of Human Right Protection and the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination would further support successful completion of the next phase of the visa liberalisation process.

Garibashvili reaffirmed Georgia’s allegiance to the integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures and readiness for successful implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.

Later today Garibashvili is expected to attend the first EU-Georgia Association Council and attend meetings with senior EU officials, including the new NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.