Lithuania’s Foreign Minister: Georgia deserves long-promised visa waiver

Georgia’s Foreign Minister (L) meets his Lithuanian counterpart in Vilnius on April 7, 2016. Photo by the Foreign Ministry of Georgia., 04 Oct 2016 - 12:15, Tbilisi,Georgia

"Georgia deserves the long-promised visa free regime,” says Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius.

"Georgia did what it promised on visa liberalisation and we shouldn't be changing rules in the middle of the game," he added.

Linkevicius spoke at an event devoted to discussing the significance of the European Union (EU) Eastern Partnership (EaP) format at European Policy Centre, a leading Brussels-based think tank yesterday.

He said Georgia’s progress and the country’s effort on its path towards European integration was impressive and he reaffirmed Lithuania’s strong support for Georgia.

Linkevicius noted the European Union (EU) must respond adequately and demonstrate its own readiness to keep its promises and grant Georgia a visa-free regime, as the country had fulfilled all obligations stipulated in its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP).

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze also attended the Brussels event yesterday. He spoke highly of the EaP program – the EU’s leading policy initiative to force closer ties with six countries in Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus – and of Georgia’s path towards integration.

EaP countries are: Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.

Janelidze said it was thanks to the EaP program that Georgia was able to carry out numerous reforms and had become a regional leader for democratic transformation, institutional development, implementing the rule of law and economic reforms.

The Georgian official spoke about the recent economic and institutional reforms implemented in Georgia, about Georgia’s democratic development and the October 8 Parliamentary Elections. He cited international observers’ reports and partners’ assessments of the democratic electoral environment in Georgia.

"International observers’ interim reports clearly show that the electoral campaign is being conducted within democratic standards,” he said.

While in Brussels, Janelidze met Peter Javorcik, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the EU. Slovakia is the current EU Council Presidency-holder.

"Georgia is at the top of the Slovak EU Council Presidency agenda this week,” Javorcik said. He promised to use all tools at his disposal to proceed with Georgia’s visa liberalisation.