Europe threatens Georgia to abolish visa-free travel
French Ambassador to Georgia Pascal Meunier warned the citizens of the country about the possible suspension of the visa-free regime by the European Union if the number of asylum seekers increases, the Georgian media reported.
"The number of Georgian citizens applying for asylum in France has increased, and they often violate the terms of stay in France," he stated, urging Georgian citizens not to trust those who offer them illegal residence in France and Germany for two years and obtaining asylum after that.
According to the French ambassador, these actions are fraught with consequences for the whole of Georgia. "It is possible that due to such actions, sanctions will be imposed on Georgia and the suspension mechanism can be applied to the visa liberalisation agreement," the French ambassador said.
The EU countries have been increasingly expressing their dissatisfaction with the growing number of asylum seekers from Georgia. Germany, France, Sweden and Iceland have already expressed their concern, Sputnik Georgia writes.
In January, only 13 Georgian citizens were granted asylum in EU countries, and almost 1,3 thousand people were refused. According to the latest data, applications from more than 5.4 thousand Georgian citizens are being considered.
The head of the Institute of Management Strategy, Petre Mamradze, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that increased emigration from Georgia to Europe is a predictable phenomenon, as the unemployment rate in the country is extremely high now.
The political scientist drew attention to the fact that the likelihood of depriving the country of a visa-free regime is extremely low. "There is no such decision to deprive Georgia of a visa-free regime, in addition. The government is taking all measures to prevent a possible suspension of the visa-free regime. Also, the government suggests introducing electronic registration in order to track the movements of those who left the country," the head of the Institute of Management Strategy pointed out.
Political scientist Gela Vasadze, in turn, drew attention to the fact that the pace of emigration of Georgian citizens to Europe in comparison with previous years increased slightly, but the conditions for interaction between Tbilisi and Brussels on migrants changed. "In past years, there was no visa-free regime, and Georgia was not responsible for those people who left the country after receiving a visa - and now it bears this responsibility," he said.
According to the expert, there is no risk of abolishing the visa-free regime. "There is only a risk of suspension of the visa-free regime with Georgia in some countries for a certain period, and it is not really high," Gela Vasadze said, adding that certain measures are being taken in Georgia to limit migration to Europe.