Georgia's PM, President, Parliament's Chairman addresses EU before Riga Summit with visa free regime expectations

  • Four of 28 EU states have already ratified the EU-Georgia Association Agreement., 8 May 2015 - 13:29, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s three top officials have voiced their expectations of what they hope the country will achieve at the upcoming Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit.

Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili addressed European Union (EU) high officials with a joint statement that expressed their hope that Georgia would gain a visa free regime with the EU at the EaP Summit, due to be held in Riga on May 21-22.

The joint letter was sent to President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, President of the European Council Donald Tusk and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

"We write to bring to your attention the expectations of Georgian leaders and people from the Riga Summit and appeal for your support and solidarity with those countries which have made the sovereign choice to pursue the vision of European integration. We hope that the European perspective of Georgia will be acknowledged, and, most importantly, that substantial progress will be made with regard to visa liberalisation,” the joint statement read.

In the letter, Georgia’s President, Prime Minister and Parliament Speaker mentioned the importance of visa liberalisation and how vital it was for Georgia to achieve a visa free regime with EU states.

"Granting visa free travel to Georgian citizens would mean more tourism, cultural and student exchanges and civil society partnerships. This will help develop Georgia and anchor future generations firmly within the European family of nations.”

"With the technical requirements completed, it is our clear hope that the final declaration of the Riga Summit will contain an unambiguous endorsement of a visa free regime with Georgia,” read the Georgian statement.

The letter also stressed the active role of the EU in the region, especially in light of Russia’s continuous attempts to infringe on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbours.

"In this context, it is essential that we together reaffirm the Eastern Partnership principles and take concrete steps towards realising our common vision for a free and united Europe,” said the Georgian officials.

The Georgia trio also reminded the EU side of the internal reforms Georgia had implemented in the past years, and the support the EU showed Georgia during this process.

Over the past two and a half years alone we have, with the support of our EU partners, made great strides in bringing Georgia into line with highest European and international standards.”

"We are fully committed to maintaining the momentum of internal reforms – which we believe in and of themselves greatly serve the interests of our country – and pursuing our Association agenda with the EU which strengthens this process,” stated the letter.