EU says Georgia is fulfilling visa liberalisation benchmarks, addressing recommendations

  • Georgia has had a visa free regime with the EU since March 2017. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 4 Aug 2021 - 17:44, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Commission has published its fourth report on the monitoring of the EU visa free regime with eight countries, including Georgia, and stated that ‘overall Georgia continues to fulfil the visa liberalisation benchmarks and has taken action to address the European Commission’s recommendations.’ 

The report focuses on actions taken in 2020 to address the recommendations in the 3rd Report under the Visa Suspension Mechanism

The report says that Georgia is increasing its technical resources for border management with EU support, including under the Security, Accountability and Fight against Crime (SAFE) programme, and support by Latvia. 

EU member states confirmed continued good cooperation on return and readmission with Georgian authorities. The well-established Readmission Case Management System proved particularly useful during the pandemic,” said the report.

The report says that in 2020 there were 30 irregular border crossings of the EU member states by Georgians, ‘10 times less than in 2019’ (328 irregular border crossings).

In 2020, the number of Georgian nationals found to be irregularly staying in the EU member states decreased by 13%, with 10,360 persons in 2020 compared to 11,870 in 2019, " said the report. 

It also said that the number of refusals of entry issued to Georgian nationals decreased by 53%, from 4,435 in 2019 to 2,065 in 2020. 

According to the report the return rate of Georgian nationals decreased from 52% in 2019 to 47% in 2020.

The trend is due to the decrease in the number of return decisions issued to nationals of Georgia by 27% (11,985 in 2020 compared to 16,310 in 2019) and the decrease by 33% in the number of people effectively returned (5,685 in 2020 compared to 8,520 in 2019),” said the report. 

The report said that the EU member states also ‘report in general good cooperation’ with Georgia in the field of security. 

Georgia continued cooperating with Europol and Eurojust and engaged in joint activities with several member states,” said the report. 

The report stated that on 12 July 2021, the Georgian parliament appointed six Supreme Court judges according to the previous appointment system, ‘going against the advice of the EU and the recommendations of the Venice Commission.’ 

The European Parliament voted in favour of visa-free travel for Georgian citizens to the Schengen Area at a plenary session on February 2, 2017. Photo: Nino Alavidze/

The report recommends that Georgia further address the issue of unfounded asylum applications in the EU member states as well as in the areas of anti-money laundering, the prevention and fight against corruption and against organised crime. 

The report stated that Georgia should take actions for further alignment of Georgia’s visa policy with the EU lists of visa-required third countries, in particular as regards those third countries which present irregular migration or security risks for the EU.

  • The EU currently has a visa-free regime in place with 61 countries. Under this visa-free regime, non-EU citizens with a biometric passport can enter the Schengen area for 90 days, within 180 days, without a visa. 
  • For Georgia, visa free travel entered into force in March 2017.