Europe has become closer to Georgia
The European Commissioner for Migration Policy Dimitris Avramopoulos announced today that the European Commission has sent a legislative initiative to the European Parliament in order to liberalize the visa regime for Georgian citizens who are now able to stay without a visa in the Schengen countries for up to 90 during a period of 180 days.
"Today the commission proposed lifting visa restrictions for Georgians,'' RIA Novosti cites him as saying.
"The legislative initiative will be transferred to the Council (EU) and the European Parliament. I hope it will accept it quickly," the European Commissioner said.
"I hope everything will be ready at the beginning of summer, because it takes about 3-4 months for taking a decision for the EU Council and the European Parliament. We have just started the process, and I think that by that time we will be ready," Avramopoulos said.
In case of it being adopted by the European Parliament, the new regulation will enter into force on the 20th day after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The political scientist and president of the Club of Independent Experts Iosif Tsiskarishvili said in an interview with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza that "this fact will contribute to further rapprochement of the Georgian people with the so-called official Europe."
In addition, the possibility of free movement within the Schengen area is a political and human decision because it is one thing to be a good partner for the EU, and the other is communication, which will certainly increase, including the number of contacts in Europe. Georgia adopted the visa-free travel for EU countries a long time ago, and its expectation of reciprocal steps is still alive," he said.
The head of the Institute of Management Strategy Peter Mamradze said that ''nothing will change significantly after the simplification of the visa regime because it means that citizens of Georgia, who have enough money will spend from 180 days to 90 days in the respective EU countries." "It does not give any additional rights – neither the right to work, nor the right to study in Europe. It is necessary to receive a special visa in order to work and study there,'' he explained.
A member of the Expert Club of Georgia Vakhtang Maisaya adheres to a similar view. He noted that the liberalization of the visa regime will lead to the establishment of "closer relations between Georgia and the EU."
However, "in view of the difficult political and economic situation in the country and the world, many citizens of the republic will express a wish to move to Europe, as it was in the Baltic states and Moldova, which received this status at an earlier stage than Georgia. It is clear there is so-called informal legal migration, which will be quite high."
The text of the document prepared by the European Commission has already appeared on the website of the Official Journal of the European Union. "Georgia has fulfilled all requirements of the Action Plan on visa liberalization, provided to the Government of Georgia in February 2013. Therefore, Georgia has satisfied the necessary criteria to ensure that its citizens be exempt from visas when traveling on the territory of the EU member states,'' Sputnik Georgia reports.