Has Georgia done its 'homework' on visas?
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgar Rinkevics said today that Tbilisi has succeeded in its 'homework' on the action plan on visa liberalization with the European Union (VLAP), so the decision of the European Commission will be positive on December 15th.
"We are waiting for the conclusion of the European Commission. I think that Georgia has made great progress. The homework is done. I hope that the conclusion will be positive and we will have an opportunity to take a positive decision at the European Council and the European Parliament," Georgia Online cites him as saying.
In addition, Rinkevics said that Europe could open its doors to Georgia without a fear of migration flows and extremists from the country. "Georgia and the European Union must fulfill their promises, no matter what is happening now. Today, I haven't heard in the European Union, except for radical politicians, that it is necessary to completely close the Schengen area. I have not heard of such statements, so if Georgia satisfies all the criteria it should receive a visa-free regime,'' he said.
Thus, the head of the Center for European Studies Kaha Gogolashvili noticed that the population of the EU has a negative attitude to the mitigation of the visa regime with other countries, including Georgia.
"Europe has a negative attitude towards the mitigation of any other regime that can lead to the risk of increasing migration flows to Europe. The European governments are likely to feel pressure from the population, so it could become a reason for a delay in adopting a visa regime with Georgia" the expert said.
The head of the Center for Security Studies and International Relations, Nika Chitadze, is more optimistic about Georgia's chances of achieving a visa-free regime, considering that the main obstacle to this is the complexity of the development of democratic institutions in the country.
"Despite this, Georgia is a key country in the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership, which is actively cooperating with the EU. It also signed a partnership agreement on July 7th 2014. Taking into account the statement of the Georgian people regarding further integration into European culture, I think that there is a good possibility of introducing a visa-free regime,'' she explained.
The head of the Center for Global Studies, Nana Devdariani, predicts that the main problems with the liberalization of the visa regime will be connected with migrants. "Many European countries will take a decision easily, but the difficulties of some European Union countries will mainly be connected with the flow of migrants," she explained.