EU Commissioner: Georgian citizens welcome to EU/Schengen zone

European Union (EU) Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos arrived yesterday in Georgia to meet with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. Photo by PM's press office, 27 Feb 2017 - 15:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

European Union (EU) Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos said the final green light to lifting visa-requirements for Georgia is a "historic moment” and "one step” forward between Georgia and the EU at a press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

The final decision has been taken. The moment has finally come to celebrate and congratulate Georgia and the people of Georgia”, Avramopoulos said in response to today’s EU Council decision.

The commissioner arrived yesterday in Georgia to meet with Kvirikashvili.

The EU Commissioner thanked the Government of Georgia for their commitment and efforts in implementing necessary policy standards, which in turn has allowed for a swift process of visa-liberalisation and now, a complete waiver.

Georgia is an example of progress and reforms that bring it one step towards its European path”, he said, welcoming Georgian citizens to come as tourists, friends, family, for different cultural or sports events, to attend business meetings, for journalistic purposes, short studies and trainings.

Hoping that one day Georgia will become the full member of the EU, Avramopoulos said this means being part of a union of peace, stability, progress, tolerance, solidarity and prosperity.

He said today Georgia is sending a "strong message” to the European family.

The EU Council adopted a regulation on lifting visa-requirements for Georgians travelling to the EU for 90 days within any 180-day period today.

The revised regulation will be signed on March 1 and published in the official journal. Twenty days after the publication, Georgian citizens will be able to enjoy short-term visa-free travel in the EU/Schengen Area.

This is the final step in the decision-making process. I congratulate every Georgian citizen on this very important decision”, Kvirikashvili said.

Kvirikashvili said all the benefits of visa-free travel will be available to Georgian citizens in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region (South Ossetia), "which will motivate them to use Georgian passports”.

Thanking Avramopoulos "for his personal efforts in the process of Georgia-EU visa liberalisation”, Kvirikashvili said "the introduction of the visa waiver is an important step on the path for Georgia towards European integration, drawing Georgia ever closer to Europe”.