Georgia visa waiver approved by Parliament

Published in Politics
Thursday, 02 February 2017 23:06

Georgian citizens will be able to enter the Schengen area without a visa for short stays, under a new law passed by Parliament on Thursday.


The legislation still needs to be formally approved by the Council and will only enter into force once the visa suspension mechanism, which allows the temporary reintroduction of visas in the event of migration surges or risks to public security, is in place.

Parliament´s rapporteur for the proposal, Mariya Gabriel (EPP, BG), acknowledged the “broad and complex reforms” carried out by Georgia in order to get the visa waiver and thanked the country's authorities and citizens for their consistency and patience. She also congratulated them on the strength of their democratic conviction and noted that the visa exemption brings the country closer to the EU.

Under the visa exemption, endorsed in plenary by 553 votes to 66, with 28 abstentions, Georgians who hold a biometric passport will have the right to enter the EU visa-free for 90 days in any 180-day period, for business, tourist or family purposes, but not to work.

Tbilisi has complied with all the benchmarks of its visa liberalisation plan, the text notes, underlining that “continuous fulfilment by Georgia of such criteria, especially on the fight against organised crime, will be duly monitored by the Commission”.

The visa waivers apply to the Schengen area, which includes 22 EU member states (all except Ireland, the UK, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania and Bulgaria), plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Next steps

The legal change transferring Georgia from the list of countries whose nationals need a visa to enter the EU (the “negative” list) to the list of countries exempted from this requirement (the “positive” list) will have now to be approved by the Council of Ministers. Following its formal signature, the text will be published in the EU Official Journal.

The visa waiver for Georgia will enter into force on the same date as the revised visa suspension mechanism, approved by Parliament on 15 December but still pending finalisation of the official translation of the legal texts.

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  • Georgian delegation to Participate in PACE Session

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  • Georgia: Leading MEPs react to the refusal of the political parties to reach an agreement

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    Following a meeting on 1 April with Christian Danielsson, personal envoy of European Council President Charles Michel for the EU-mediated political dialogue in Georgia, leading MEPs issued the following joint statement:

    “We are deeply disappointed with the political leaders in Georgia for their inability to reach an agreement last Tuesday despite the best efforts deployed by the European Union to help put an end to the current political crisis. Both the ruling and the main opposition parties taking part in the discussions are to be blamed for this outcome and a special responsibility lies with the party in government.

    We reiterate our strong support to Christian Danielsson’s tireless work and welcome the publication of the proposal he made to the political parties, which further increased the transparency of the mediation process. It is essential to rebuild confidence between political party actors. The content of this proposal is indeed the right way ahead for Georgia: ambitious electoral and judicial reforms, meaningful sharing of responsibilities in the Georgian Parliament and, most importantly, a solution on future elections and on two cases of politicised justice. This solution is politically balanced and respects both the rule of law and the international assessment of the 2020 elections. We also welcome the idea of a Jean-Monnet Dialogue process supported by the European Parliament, when the political situation allows.

    Following the refusal from the political parties to compromise, Georgia’s leaders should not expect a return to business as usual from the European Union. The European Parliament in particular will call for consequences in terms of EU financial assistance, including both a suspension of further disbursements of and an increase in conditionality linked to EU Macro Financial Assistance and budget support programmes.

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    Background
    The increasing frictions between political parties in Georgia following the November 2020 parliamentary elections and the arrest of the opposition leader in mid-February have sparked a major political crisis in Georgia. The EU is actively engaged to help overcome the tensions among Georgia's political parties. Christian Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel's personal envoy, conducted in Tbilisi two rounds of mediation among the parties and presented a proposal for a way ahead for Georgia. The European Parliament strongly supports his efforts.

    The statement is co-signed by:
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    Marina Kaljurand (S&D, Estonia), Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus;

    Andrius Kubilius (EPP, Lithuania), Chair of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly;

    Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany), lead member of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group for Georgia;

    Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia;

    Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine;

    Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe, Lithuania), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Belarus.

     

    Source: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20210401IPR01301/georgia-leading-meps-react-to-the-refusal-of-the-parties-to-reach-an-agreement?xtor=AD-78-[Social_share_buttons]-[facebook]-[en]-[news]-[pressroom]-[statement-georgia]-

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