Georgia is one step away from liberalization of visas with EU

Georgia is one step away from liberalization of visas with EU

Interior Ministers of 28 member states of the European Union approved the proposal of the European Commission (EC) on the possibility of suspending visa-free regime with third countries in the framework of proposed abolition of visas for short-term travels of citizens of some countries, including Georgia, to the EU.

"Visa liberalisation has great advantages for the EU and third countries. Yet we need an emergency brake for all visa free countries to make sure that visa liberalisation cannot be abused. I'm pleased that we agreed today on a mechanism that makes it easier to act against abuse. I'm looking forward to working with the European Parliament to realise this soon", said Klaas Dijkhoff, Minister for Migration of the Netherlands and President of the Council.

The main objective of this proposal is to strengthen the suspension mechanism by making it easier for member states to notify circumstances leading to a possible suspension,by enabling the Commission to trigger the mechanism on its own initiative and by tasking the Commission to send a yearly report to the European Parliament and Council on the continous fulfillement of the criteria of visa-exempt third countries.

The use of the mechanism will also be facilitated by shortening reference periods and deadlines allowing for a faster procedure. In particular, the reference period for comparing the circumstances leading to the suspension with the situation of the previous year or before the visa liberalisation is shortened from six to two months.

In addition, the Council of Europe supported the establishment of a monitoring mechanism, concerning the continuation of compliance with previous requirements for visa-free status by countries, with which the visa regime was abolished.

As Vestnik Kavkaza previously reported, European Commissioner for Internal and Migration Affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos stated that Georgia fullfilled all requirements for visa liberalization with the EU.

Avramopoulos clarified that the final decision on this matter will be made by the European Council and the European Parliament.