From Europe to Europe-a path successfully covered by Georgia. From this day onward, Georgia's citizens will enjoy visa-free travel in the EU/Schengen Area. The first wave of passengers traveling visa-free to EU states was joined today by the Prime Minister of Georgia. To celebrate the enactment of visa waiver, on March 28, the Head of Georgian Government embarked on a symbolic trip to Athens, the capital of an ancient civilization, and Brussels, Europe's political capital.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili, a holder of a Georgian biometric passport, has already passed the border control checkpoint at Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport. Ahead is a path to Europe in the company of Georgian students, scholars, media representatives, and members of the Government.
"This is a regular Georgian passport of a Georgian citizen that I will use to travel to Europe," the Prime Minister addressed the press at the Tbilisi International Airport, showing them his Georgian passport. Giorgi Kvirikashvili calls visa waiver for Georgian citizens a historic event.
"It is a historic day-visa-free travel in the EU/Schengen Area is finally open to Georgian citizens. It is a great achievement and a good opportunity for Georgians to enhance their knowledge about the EU, learn more about the values underpinning the EU. It is a great opportunity for our students to engage in different educational programs. Together with students, we are headed to Athens, an ancient cultural capital of Europe, where we will hold a meeting at the university and have a number of political meetings. In the afternoon, we will travel to Brussels, Europe's political capital, to celebrate this great achievement, which is a result of not only the consistent, intensive work of the Georgian Government, but also of the great engagement on the part of the Georgian citizens. I congratulate all of you on this historic holiday," the Prime Minister told the press.
For the most part, the Georgian delegation consists of students, the future generation, who have already taken their first successful steps in life. Special is the benefit offered to them by visa-free travel in the Schengen Area.
"It is my first time traveling to Europe, and I could've never imagined that it would coincide with this historic event, the coming into force of visa-free travel. I am excited to join the Prime Minister in this historic visit," Tbilisi State University student Tamar Mirianashvili says.
"I am happy to be part of this historic event. EU visa liberalization is equally important to those living across the dividing line, because they are part of our state. I believe that they, too, should use this opportunity, and I hope that it will be another precondition for our unification," Nika Markozashvili, a resident of the border village of Ditsi, says.
The Georgian delegation consists of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education and Science Alexandre Jejelava, Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze, State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze, Chair of Parliamentary Committee for European Integration Tamar Khulordava, Chair of the Committee for Foreign Relations Sopio Katsarava, Rector of the Tbilisi State University Gia Sharvashidze, associate Professor Irina Darchia (Department of Classical Philology at the Institute for Modern Greek Studies), Archeologist Davit Lortkipanidze (Director General at the Georgian National Museum), Associate Professor Levan Gigineishvili, PhD in Philology (Ilia State University), author Zurab Karumidze, IDU (International Education Center) scholarship holders, Startup Georgia beneficiaries, successful new Greek studies and classical philology students of the Humanities Department at the Tbilisi State University, young people financed under the Produce in Georgia program, successful IDP students from Georgia's occupied territories, socially vulnerable students, and ethnic minority students.
The European Parliament will vote visa liberalization issue for Georgian citizens at plenary session at February 2. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is said in the European Parliament’s February agenda.
As you know, LIBE Committee supported visa free regime for Georgian citizens. 45 deputies participated in the voting. Only 2 deputies came against visa liberalization for Georgia. The Plenary session will hold in February.
Coreper confirmed an achieved agreement with European Parliament at 13 of December, 2016. As it is reported, Georgian citizens will allowed in Schengen Zone without visas in the nearest future.
“I am sure that visa free regime will be available for Georgians in the nearest future,”-this statement was made by the Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Georgia Carlo Natale.
“We are waiting for progressive news from Brussels where the meeting is scheduled. A huge step was taken last week. I am sure that visa free regime will be available for Georgians in the nearest future,”-Carlo Natale added.
The trilateral negotiations on visa liberalization issue of Georgia will be discussed today, between EU Council, EU Parliament and EU Commission in Brussels. This information was published yesterday, by the Foreign Affairs Minister of Slovakia Miroslav Lajčák.
“Within the frames of trilateral meetings, we will meet in European Parliament at December, 13. We are waiting that COREPER will discuss this issue on December, 20,”-he said.
The President of Georgia: "The Main Obstacle Concerning the Visa Liberalization Process Has Been Overcome"Friday, 09 December 2016 11:55
The President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili has evaluated the ongoing Visa liberalization process of Georgia and stated that even though the suspension mechanism was not entirely related to Georgia, it was the main obstacle delaying the process of obtaining Visa free travel right.
“Currently, as a result of Georgia’s efforts and active involvement of our partner countries, this obstacle has been overcome. After overcoming this obstacle, practically, no other difficulties exist delaying this process. We assume that the decision will be made in the nearest future”, - stated the President.
Reforms implemented in the process of EU visa liberalization and steps taken by Georgia toward modernizing migration policy were discussed as the main topics at today's meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.
At the meeting in Brussels, the EU commissioner commended the work carried out under the Visa Liberalization Action Plan, which, according to him, was reflected in the Commission's final report. Dimitris Avramopoulos reiterated his support and expressed hope that Georgian citizen would be able to enjoy visa-free travel in the European Union in the near future.
The meeting also discussed migration issues, and it was emphasized that, under the Visa Liberalization Action Plan, Georgia had implemented immigration and emigration control reforms, while also adopting the Law on the Protection of Personal Data and the Migration Strategy and Action Plan.
The parties emphasized the importance of the new Association Agenda for 2017-2020, new opportunities for closer relations between the European Union and Georgia, and prospects of deeper cooperation on migration and security issues.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili thanked the EU Commissioner for his personal contribution to Georgia's European integration.
Prime Minister's Press Office