Council of Europe, European Parliament agree on Georgia-EU visa waiver

Government Administration building in Tbilisi illuminated in the EU colours on December 18, 2015 to celebrate visa liberalisation progress report. Photo by N. Alavidze/, 13 Dec 2016 - 22:31, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Parliament and the Council of Europe have reached a political agreement today regarding Georgia's visa liberalisation with the European Union (EU), announced the official Twitter account of the Council of Europe under the Slovakian presidency.

The deal means Georgia is very close to being granted visa free travel within the EU's Schengen Zone.

The decision came after today’s trialateral meeting in Brussels, Belgium on Georgia’s visa waiver involving the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission.

Miroslav Lajcak, Slovakia's Foreign Minister and current EU Council presidency holder, said prior to the meeting that he believed only one tripartite meeting would be enough because "there are no obstacles and everything is agreed [regarding Georgia-EU visa free travel]”.

After today's agreement, Georgia's visa free travel to the EU will be discussed in the Council of Europe by the Committee of the Permanent Representatives of the Governments of Member States to the EU (Coreper). This meeting is expected to take place before December 20, before a final vote is held in the European Parliament.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili immediately responded to the "successful visa liberalisation trialogue”.

European Parliamentarian Mariya Gabriel, who is a rapporteur of Georgia’s visa liberalistaion, also shared the news on her official Twitter account.

We are entering the final phase towards visa exemption for Georgian citizens. It was extremely important to reach a deal today, to move forward in parallel with the revision of the suspension mechanism and to be ready for a simultaneous entry into force," said Gabriel.
I am glad that the Council backed our commitment to deliver [a result] as soon as possible," she added.

The Council of Europe and the European Parliament recently agreed on certain rules of the Suspension Mechanism, which was the last precondition for Georgia’s visa waiver.

The EU-Georgia visa liberalisation dialogue started in 2012. By the end of 2015 the European Commission had concluded that the Georgia had fulfilled all benchmarks for a visa waiver.

Once Georgia obtained visa liberalisation it's citizens will be able to enter the EU's Schengen Zone without a visa for 90 days in any 180 day period, provided they hold a biometric passport.