The European Commission on Wednesday presented a legislative proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 to the European Parliament and the EU Council, to allow short-term visawaiver for Georgian citizens within the Schengen area.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia welcomed the European Commission’s initiative of the legislative process, “which is yet another step towards visa liberalisation with the European Union and the clear recognition of the reforms carried out by the Government of Georgia”.
The European Commission’s proposal is based on the Progress Report published on 18 December 2015, according to which Georgia met all the benchmarks set in respect of the four blocks of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP): document security; border management, migration management and asylum; public order and security; fundamental human rights.
The legislative proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 will be submitted for consideration to the EU Council and the European Parliament. The latter has to provide its consent to the amended regulation, upon which it will be approved by the EU Council and signed by the President of the European Parliament and the Foreign Minister of the country holding the EU Council Presidency.
Based on the amendment, Georgia will be listed among the third-countries whose citizens will enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen area. The Regulation envisaging short-term visa-free visits to the EU countries will enter into force on the 20th day following its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The EU Council and the European Parliament are expected to complete relevant procedures in the near future allowing Georgian citizens holding biometric passports to enter the EU/Schengen area without visa for short stays (90 days in any 180-day period).
Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “Today we follow up on our commitment to propose visa-free travel for Georgian citizens to the EU. Visa free travel will further facilitate people-to-people contacts and strengthen business, social and cultural ties between the European Union and Georgia – it is an important achievement for the citizens of Georgia. Today’s proposal recognises the efforts of the Georgian authorities to carry out far-reaching and difficult reforms with a significant impact on the rule of law and the justice system. I am very satisfied with the progress achieved, and I hope that the European Parliament and the Council will adopt our proposal very soon.”
SOURCE: Embassy of Georgia