The European Council yesterday (27 February) adopted a Commission proposal granting visa liberalisation for Georgia. EURACTIV Germany reports.
The European Commission published its visa proposal on 9 March 2016 after concluding that Georgia has met all the criteria needed to be exempted from visa requirements.
As a result of yesterday’s Council decision, Georgian citizens will soon be able to enter the Schengen zone without a visa and stay for up to 90 days.
Georgians will be unable to enter the United Kingdom or Ireland but non-EU members Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland will be accessible.
The exemption is set to come into force 20 days after the decision is published in the EU’s Official Journal, expected by the second half of March.
EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, in Tbilisi when the decision was announced, welcomed the development. “Today’s adoption recognises the tremendous efforts undertaken by the Georgian authorities and the Georgian people to carry out far-reaching and difficult reforms in the area of the rule of law and the justice system.”
Another Commission proposal also green lit by the Council yesterday will see the visa suspension mechanism revised so that the EU can react quicker to emergency developments.
The executive’s May 2016 proposal aims to allow member states to suspend visas for third countries in the event of a significant increase in irregular migration or if there is a heightened risk to internal security.
The most significant revision means that the Commission itself will be able to trigger the mechanism which until this point was only possible by the member states themselves.