Foreign Minister hopes visa-free travel to Europe will be available by 2016

Maia Panjikidze, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Georgia., 05 Apr 2014 - 14:51, Tbilisi,Georgia

A top Georgian diplomat assumes but cannot guarantee Georgians will enjoy visa-free travel to countries in the Schengen area by 2016.

Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said Georgia was currently closing the first stage of the visa liberalization process.

"This is a legislative stage. We are now moving forward to the second stage,” Panjikidze said in an interview with Radio Liberty.

She claimed in the first half of April, a European Union mission would arrive in Georgia to learn about the work undertaken so far.

"I am sure their assessment will be very positive and we will be able to move to the second phase before the summer holidays start,” the Minister said. She assumed the second phase will last for about 18 months.

"And then, by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016, I assume but I cannot give any guarantees, that for Georgian citizens with ordinary passports it will be possible to travel to Europe visa-free,” Panjikidze said.