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MEP: Visa-free travel for Georgians from April

by Jonathan Adams

Member of European Parliament (MEP) and co-rapporteur of Georgia’s visa liberalization Andrejs Mamikins told Georgian journalists that Georgians will enjoy visa-free travel within the European Union (EU) from April, 2017.

He said the European Council had suggested the second half of April as the final date for Georgia’s visa waiver. Mamkins underlines the process is nearly over and only technical issues remain.

“Apparently, the agreed text on Georgia will be approved on April 7, while on April 15 the decision may be published in the official publication of the European Union. In late April, the citizens of Georgia will be able to travel visa-free with biometric passports,” Mamkins stated.

As for the voting on Georgia’s visa liberalization, the MEP believes that the voting will be held in January or February 2017.

“After that, the adopted text must be translated into 24 languages, which is expected to require 8 weeks,” said Andrejs Mamikins.

Mariya Gabriel, European Parliament Member and a rapporteur of Georgia’s visa liberalization, believes the process will be completed before April.

She said resolution of technical issues does not need several weeks and underlined that Georgia had fulfilled all obligations undertaken under Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP) and it was up to the EU now to deliver on its promise.

“April is a long time for the citizens of Georgia, as Georgia has already fulfilled its obligations, and now the EU has to fulfil its promise. Resolution of technical issues does not require eight weeks. We are doing our best to speed up the process,” Gabriel said.

The political agreement over Georgia’s visa- liberalization issue came after the trialogue of the European Parliament, European Council and European Commission on Tuesday in Brussels, Belgium. This was the first tripartite meeting on Georgia’s visa liberalization involving all the European Union (EU) structures.

After this, Georgia-EU visa-free travel will be discussed in the Council of Europe by the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Governments of Member States to the EU (Coreper) and at the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE). After this, the issue will be returned to the European Parliament, which will make the final decision.

The visa-free regime between Georgia and the EU will go into force as soon as the suspension mechanism is activated. When the process is completed, Georgian citizens will be able to enter the EU visa-free for 90 days in any 180-day period.

This article is for information purposes only.
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