Mogherini: Georgia deserves visa-free regime, but cannot be given it yet
Terms of establishing a visa-free regime with the EU for citizens of Georgia do not depend on political considerations, this is a purely procedural matter, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said.
"I cannot give you a specific date, because now the European Parliament and the European Council must complete the procedure," she explained after the meeting of the Georgia-EU Association Council.
"Georgia has deserved it. Nothing could have a negative impact on it," the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy stressed.
The EU Council believes that visa liberalization should take place simultaneously with the entry into force of the new "mechanism suspending" the visa-free regime.
According to some European media, the EU Council and the European Parliament have some differences in this matter.
The head of the Center for European Studies Kaha Gogolashvili, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, said that formally Mogherini was right, and it depends only on the technical part of the issue.
"With regard to Georgia, the decision has already been made, and it will automatically enter into force as soon as the new regulation on the mechanism of the abolition of visas will be accepted. However, the problem lies precisely in the adoption of this mechanism: unfortunately, it is tied not only to the issue of Georgia, but also the issue of Ukraine and, most likely, Turkey," the expert explained.
According to him, Georgia is suffering as a result of the fact that the final decision is connected with other states. "I think that there is always a risk that the decision will not be made until February next year," the head of the Center for European Studies warned.
"But in any case, I think the issue is practically solved. Europe realizes that postponing a visa-free regime with Georgia strikes not only in the interests of Georgia and the Georgian people, it also hits the EU's reputation," Kaha Gogolashvili concluded.
The head of the Center for Global Studies, Nana Devdariani, in turn, noted that such attitude of the West to Georgia, when they declare full support for the course of the republic in the Euro-Atlantic integration, but do not sign any documents, has become a trend. "In fact, the process is much deeper. This is like the NATO gates, which are open to us, but we cannot enter into them," she said.
"Of course, this is not just a technical issue, because on the background of the migration crisis, Brexit and the results of the presidential elections in the United States, the European political elite spoiled its relations with Trump. If we look at all these issues in the complex, it becomes clear that Europe is concerned not over technical issues of visa-free regime with Georgia, but over a global issue of how the European Union will continue to exist in the future," Nana Devdariani noticed.
At the same time Europe's unwillingness to fulfill the agreement with Georgia hits the elected authorities of the republic. "The fact that immediately the visa liberalization with the EU has postponed after the election once again, of course, is very inconvenient for the newly elected Georgian Dream," the head of the Center for Global Studies pointed out.