"Georgia's progress has been significant in a short period of time" but the country "still needs to address the remaining recommendations” says the European Commission in its latest report on Georgia's implementation of its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP).
Ahead of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga on May 21-22, the Commission issued two progress reports on the VLAP implementation by Georgia and Ukraine.
"Georgia's progress has been significant in a short period of time and is broadly in line with the second-phase benchmarks,” the Commission reports noted.
"While the legislative and institutional framework is in place and the integrity of the institutional and organisational practices across the four blocks of VLAP generally comply with European and international standards, Georgia still needs to address the remaining recommendations and sustained efforts by all stakeholders involved will be needed.”
The report stated Georgia's key priority was the sustainable implementation of the legal and institutional framework, in particular in the areas of asylum, anti-corruption, human trafficking and drugs. The Commission said fulfilling the actions stated in the report would allow Georgia to complete its implementation of all of the VLAP’s Phase two benchmarks.
"The visa liberalisation dialogue is an important driver of reforms in the area of Justice and Home Affairs. Georgia and Ukraine showed great commitment in fulfilling the VLAP benchmarks under the second phase. It is crucial that this hard work continues in the months to come,” said Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos.
The Commission said it would continue to monitor Georgia and Ukraine and "do its utmost to support" the two countries, and would again issue another report on VLAP implementation progress by the end of 2015.