EU Commissioner Hahn: “No later than October Georgia’s visa liberalisation is possible”

EU High Commissioner met Georgia’s Prime Minister in the morning in Batumi. Photo by Prime Minister’s webpage., 14 Jul 2016 - 14:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, is in Georgia and claims no later than October Georgia can obtain visa-free travel in the EU’s passport-free Schengen Zone.

Hahn, who arrived to Georgia to attend the 13th International Conference "Georgia’s European Way” in coastal Batumi town, held a face-to-face meeting with Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in the morning.

After the meeting Hahn stressed "Georgia fulfilled all its obligations for the visa-free travel and now EU should also adhere to its promise.”

He also published some important messages on his official Twitter account:

Georgia has successfully fulfilled all its obligations taken through the Georgia-EU Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP). Now it’s the EU’s turn to meet its promise,” Hahn said and noted he would provide his major efforts to support Georgia on the path.

Also today Hahn delivered a speech at the Batumi conference, where he mainly focused on EU and the regional security issues, implementation of the Georgia-EU Association Agreement (AA) and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) deals and Georgia’s and the whole region’s role for Europe’s economic development.

Hahn stressed currently the EU was facing various challenges, migrant crisis and the United Kingdom’s leaving the organisation among them, but he emphesised , despite the obstacles, "EU is sticking to the commitments that it has made with its partner countries.”

Speaking about Georgia-EU AA deal, which came into full play on July 1, Hahn said in 2015 total trade between Georgia-EU amounted to € 2.58 billion that was an increase compared to the previous data and a signal of a positive trend.

He also said that "most of Georgia's first year DCFTA commitments have been fulfilled.”

However, Hahn said Georgia chose to implement most of its approximation DCFTA commitments at a later stage, starting from the 3rd year of application of the DCFTA, as of 2017.

This means that some important trade issues will need to be addressed in the not too distant future. One of such topics is a technical barrier to trade and another is a public procurement,” Hahn said, added the EU would support Georgia to overcome all existing challenges.

Hahn also praised Georgia’s beneficial business climate, which was reflected in "excellent scores in the Transparency International corruption index and the World Bank Doing Business Index.”

As a result, Foreign Direct Investments are currently solid in Georgia, and investments from EU Member States account for almost half of total Foreign Direct Investments in Georgia,” Hahn said.

In his speech Hahn also stressed the importance of Small and Medium-sized businesses (SMEs) for Georgia’s and the region’s development and highlighted the EU and the regional countries should provide more efforts in this regard.

In the final note Hahn said , "there is still a lot of work ahead of us, but Georgia is not afraid of taking on new responsibilities and new challenges for itself and the region, in the interests of its own citizens (and citizens of the region) and in the hope of a better future.”