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Parliament sends letter to EU prior to its report on Georgia’s visa-liberalisation prospects

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, December 14
The Parliament of Georgia has adopted a text that will be sent to relevant structures of the European Union (EU) prior to the release of the Council of Europe (CoE) report on December 15 concerning Georgia’s progress to full visa-liberalisation with the EU states.

The appeal was initiated by Viktor Dolidze, a member of the Free Democrats opposition party, and was subsequently shared by the Georgian Dream (GD) majority; it was supported by 76 lawmakers out of the 150-seat parliament.

The appeal overviewed the successful cooperation between Georgia and the EU, highlighted the importance of the Visa-Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) and emphasised the successful reforms Georgia had carried out to adhere to the VLAP obligations.

Focusing on the “excellent” fulfillment of the VLAP preconditions ,the Georgian Parliament appealed to CoE to reveal an official statement following the report for Georgian citizens to have the opportunity of visa-free travel with the EU states.

The Georgian body also expressed its certitude that the CoE statement would be followed by “timely approvals” from the European Parliament and European Commission.

“Visa-liberalisation with the EU will support the welfare and reintegration of the Georgian population living in the currently-occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia).

“Such a solution will also further highlight the fruitful Georgian-EU cooperation and the benefits provided through our partnership,” the Parliament statement read.

The statement also included an appeal to the current Georgian leadership to continue an information campaign to inform the local population over their rights, benefits and obligations foreseen within the visa-liberalisatio agreement.

Prior to the release of the text, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said that the targeted technical works and reforms in terms of gaining visa-liberalisation with the EU states have been fulfilled and exceeded.

Consequently he said his “expectations were only positive.”

“Such positive forecasts are being made in the capitals of European countries,” Kvirikashvili said.

“We have worked hard in this regard, fulfilled all the obligations taken through the VLAP and achieved progress even in directions that had not been demanded,” the Minister added.

Following the lead, Kvrikashvili stressed that if the report was found positive, a several-month process would be launched for gaining political approval for the visa-liberalistaion.

“Each Foreign Minister from the Eurozone countries should provide their approvals to the report and then the Parliament of Europe and the Council of Europe should give their consent for the practical implementation of free travel with the EU for Georgia,” Kvirikashvili stated.