“Suspension Mechanism agreed, we can vote for Georgia-EU visa waiver next week,” MEP says

Georgian and EU flags at an old traditional Tbilisi balcony. Photo by Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge
Agenda.ge, 07 Dec 2016 - 22:37, Tbilisi,Georgia

European Parliament Member (MEP) Kati Piri announced on Twitter that European structures have agreed on the suspension mechanism, which was the last precondition in place for Georgia to be granted a visa waiver to the European Union (EU).

The EU had earlier stressed the suspension mechanism was "a must" and Georgia would not be granted its long-awaited visa waiver to the Schengen Zone without it.

Georgia’s Ambassador to the EU Natalie Sabanadze confirmed an agreement had been made between the Council of Europe and the European Parliament regarding the suspension mechanism.

Sabanadze told Georgian media the two European structures today agreed on a "compromised version” of the suspension mechanism that was presented by the Council of Europe.

She added a major topic of controversy concerned how long European member states could address the suspension mechanism without the involvement of the European Parliament.

An agreement has been achieved between the European Parliament and the Council of Europe that the suspension mechanism may be active for nine months by EU member states and if the visa-free travel continues after the term expires, the European Parliament will get involved in the process,” Sabanadze said.

She added after additional consultations and discussions within European Parliament, the agreement may be voted at the European Parliament’s plenary session next week.

Meanwhile Vice Speaker of Parliament of Georgia Tamar Chugoshvili was excited Georgia could soon finally be granted a visa waiver to the EU.

No more obstacles that can hamper Georgia-EU visa-free travel [remain],” she said.
The absence of an agreement on the suspension mechanism was the major technical obstacle for the Georgia-EU visa waiver. I want to congratulate the Georgian people on today's good news,” she added.

Parliamentary Majority leader Archil Talakvadze said now an agreement on the suspension mechanism had been reached, European Parliament must vote for Georgia-EU visa liberalisation.

He stressed Georgia enjoyed the "full support" of European Parliament in this regard.