First hearing: European Parliament supports introduction of visa-free travel for Georgia

Georgia's Parliament will ratify AA tomorrow. International officials will attend the event. Photo by N.Alavidze/, 26 Apr 2016 - 11:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Parliament has positively assessed Georgia’s progress towards visa liberalisation and supports Georgian citizens to travel to the Schengen area visa-free.

This message was voiced at the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) meeting yesterday.

LIBE held its first hearing on lifting visa requirements for Georgia last night. European Parliamentarian Maria Gabriel, who is a rapporteur of Georgia’s visa liberalistaion, started her speech by congratulating the Georgian delegation on fully meeting all the requirements envisaged in the country’s Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP).

Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said following the meeting everyone at the European Parliament supported Georgia’s visa liberalisation.

"The committee discussion was very positive,” he said.
"All the speakers – the main rapporteur, European Commission representatives, head of the Georgia-European Union (UN) Association Committee – positively assessed the work Georgia had carried out within its VLAP.”

The second hearing was scheduled for the same Committee on April 28, after which the question of Georgia’s visa removal will be put forward at a European Parliament’s plenary session for voting. The date of voting has not been announced.

The last stage will see the resolution, approved by the European Parliament, be sent to the European Council for final approval.

Zalkaliani believed European Parliament’s decision would be a historic moment and he was optimistic of a positive outcome.