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Georgia met all requirements

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, June 9
The lawmakers of the European Parliament state Georgia has met all European Union (EU) visa-liberalisation requirements, the country merits visa free regime as soon as possible, and the process should not be related to other visa debates EU is having with Turkey, Ukraine and Kosovo.

The statement was made late on June 7 by the Foreign Affairs Committee Members of Parliament (MEPs) when they met with Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili in Strasbourg, France.

Earlier today, the Social Democrats (S&D) Groups, the second largest group in the European Parliament with 191 members from all 28 EU countries, made a clear statement about their support for Georgia’s visa-liberalisation in EU.

Yesterday, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella and vice-president for foreign policy and eastern partnership Knut Fleckenstein met with Margvelashvili in Strasbourg.

"The S&D Group supports the process of liberalising the visa regime for Georgia; we are aware of the sensitivity of this issue in terms of encouraging the Georgian people and institutions to firmly keep to the European path,” Pittella said.

Fleckenstein added that as Georgia had met all the requirements, the EU should stick to its promise to the Georgian people and “grant a visa-free regime now”.

“We expect ?the Council to act now,” Fleckenstein emphasized.

The President of Georgia also held a joint press-conference with the President of the Council of Europe (CoE) Donald Tusk, who said Georgia had fulfilled all its visa-liberalisation requirements and hoped the country would be soon granted the right of visa-free travel in the European Union (EU).

In his speech, Tusk highlighted successful Georgian reforms and the country’s achievements in the implementation process of the Georgia -European Union (EU) Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) deals as well as the visa requirements presented by the EU.

“As you know, last December the European Commission confirmed that Georgia had achieved all the required benchmarks for a positive final decision, which I believe will be forthcoming soon. The Commission's proposal to grant Georgian citizens visa-free travel to the Schengen zone is currently being discussed by the Council and the European Parliament," Tusk said.

The CoE official also stressed the importance of the upcoming October parliamentary elections in Georgia, and said the elections would be a “test” for the country.

Herewith, Tusk positively assessed the charging of people for the May 22 by-election clash between supporters of opposing political parties in Georgia’s western Zugdidi municipality, in which several opposition leaders were beaten.

President Margvelahsvili spoke about the political importance of gaining visa-liberalisation for Georgia and emphasised that Georgia was steadily heading towards full European integration.