“We made it, and we made it together", says Mogherini to mark visa-free travel for Ukrainians

Published in World
Tuesday, 13 June 2017 10:38

On 11 June, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini congratulated Ukrainians on the occasion of the entry into force of the visa liberalisation agreement between the EU and Ukraine. “Today, we bring down a barrier between the people of Ukraine and the people of the European Union. No more visa for short trips between our countries,” said Mogherini in her video speech.

“We made it, and we made it together”, Mogherini continued, addressing Ukrainian citizens. “Ukraine has delivered the reforms its citizens were asking for. And we, in the European Union, we have kept our promise. This is what we call a win-win solution. It will create new opportunities for all of us, strengthening our economies, our security and our friendship. This is what our partnership is all about: making a difference to our citizens’ everyday lives.”

Approved by the Council in May, the agreement provides for visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens with biometric passports travelling to the EU for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. This may be for tourism, to visit relatives or friends, or for business purposes, but not to work. The exemption applies to all EU countries, except Ireland and the UK, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The EU just agreed to grant visa-free travel to 50 million people

Published in Politics
Thursday, 08 December 2016 14:04

The EU has agreed to grant visa-free travel to 50 million Ukrainians and Georgians. Officials said the deal had been struck on Thursday to end an internal EU dispute that had been holding up the promised measures. Late-night talks involving EU member states and the European Parliament had reached a compromise on the terms of a mechanism which can be used to suspend the visa-free schemes in emergencies.
The European Commission and the bloc's 28 members will be able to reimpose visa requirements more quickly and more easily under a compromise deal under fears over immigration and terrorism. The deal on visa suspension must still be formally approved by the member states and the European Parliament.
The deal struck between the European Parliament and the member states "will facilitate the immediate consideration of the two visa liberalisation proposals for Georgia and Ukraine," MEP Agustin Diaz de Mera said. Under the deal, visa requirements may be reintroduced if there is a surge of citizens from a non-EU country such as Ukraine or Georgia staying irregularly in EU territory.
They can also be reintroduced if there is a rise in unfounded asylum applications, or a lack of cooperation on returning migrants, or if nationals are deemed to pose a security threat.
"This agreement is balanced, and is extremely important for both the effectiveness and credibility of the union's visa liberalisation policy," Slovak Interior Minister Robert Kalinak said.
"The current suspension mechanism is not adequate and will now be improved," following the deal, said Mr Kalinak, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency.
"The fact that we have reached an agreement should open the door to further progress on visa liberalisation talks with other countries that meet all the necessary requirements," he added.he two former Soviet republics are seeking to move further away from their former master Moscow and closer to the West. However, they have grown frustrated that the EU was failing to deliver. 
After last year's refugee crisis, EU governments had grown nervous of the popular reaction led by anti-immigration parties against a move to make visits easier for 45 million Ukrainians, as well as 5 million Georgians.
Allowing them to travel into Europe's Schengen zone without applying in advance for visas was an important incentive for people there to accept hard reforms from the governments in Kiev and Tbilisi as they sought closer relations with the EU.
Earlier this week, the head of the European Council said the EU was putting its credibility and reputation at risk by letting internal political wrangling stall the promised easing of visa requirements. 
In a letter sent to European Parliament President Martin Schulz on Tuesday and seen by Reuters, Donald Tusk urged the legislature to compromise with national governments to unblock visa liberalisation.
"At stake here are the legitimate hopes and aspirations of the nations who are our neighbours, as well as the reputation of the European Union, which has categorically and repeatedly committed itself to the issue," the former Polish premier wrote.
"Even though all the parties in this debate have their own good arguments and undoubtedly good will, it seems we are getting close to squandering our joint efforts," he added, saying failure to deliver would be "an unforgivable mistake".
source: Independent

One step closer to visa-free travel for Georgians

Published in Politics
Thursday, 06 October 2016 17:30
The EU’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) has agreed, on behalf of the European Council, a negotiating position on visa liberalisation for Georgia. Once the new visa regime for Georgia is agreed with the European Parliament and formally adopted, it will provide visa-free travel for Georgians travelling to the EU, as well as EU citizens travelling to Georgia, for a stay of 90 days in any 180-day period.
"The Council has today demonstrated its strong commitment to visa-free travel for Georgian citizens, taking into account Georgia's reforms,” said Peter Javorčík, Permanent Representative of Slovakia to the EU, and President of the Permanent Representatives Committee. “The Presidency believes that the path of credible reforms is the right one and should be encouraged. We count on the European Parliament's support in finalizing the related process so that the citizens of Georgia can enjoy visa-free travel as soon as possible."
On the basis of this mandate, the Slovak presidency will now start negotiations with the European Parliament. 
A press release said the Council took the view that the entry into force of visa liberalization for Georgia should be at the same time as the entry into force of the new "suspension mechanism". The mechanism was strengthened in the context of the current migratory situation in the EU, and makes it easier for EU member states to notify circumstances which might lead to a suspension of visa-free travel.

The number of international travelers to Georgia increased by 12.9%

Published in Economics
Monday, 04 July 2016 15:16

The number of international travelers to Georgia increased by 12.9%.This statement was made by the Head of National Tourism Administration Giorgi Chogovadze. According to him, 2 636 313 people visited Georgia in last 6 months. The numbers of increase is 12.3% over the previous year’s same period.
As Chogovidze said the most tourists traveled from Azerbaijan (+18.1%), Turkey (+4%), Armenia (+1.4%), Russia (+15.6%) and Ukraine (+26.3%) According to him, the other data is like that:
Latvia +29%
Italy +20%
France +12%.
Iran (+400%)
India (+340%)
Philippines (+208%)
Israel (+95%)
China (+57%)
Uzbekistan (+31%)

Georgia: Strengthening knowledge on EU/ Schengen visa regulations

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 13:33
A training seminar on EU/Schengen visa regulations has recently taken place in Tbilisi, Georgia for the country’s civil servants, relevant experts as well as non-governmental organisations active in the field of migration, reports the Eastern Partnership Panel for Migration and Asylum. The event aimed to provide participants with the necessary information on visa-free travel with the EU, serving as an integral component of the Georgian government’s single information campaign in this field.
The event focused on the legal framework of the single EU (Schengen) visa policy and existing practices, general procedures for processing visa applications and the Visa Information System. It also touched upon the rules of the visa-free regime with the EU and instruments to plan and calculate the number of days for legal stay in the Schengen area (the so-called ‘Schengen calculator’).
The training was organised by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development in cooperation with Georgia’s Secretariat of the State Commission on Migration Issues as part of the EU-funded “Enhancing Georgia’s Migration Management” (ENIGMMA) project. (EU Neighbourhood Info)

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