The messenger logo

No decision on Georgia’s visa-liberalization again

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, June 13
The Ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs of European Union (EU) member states failed to reach an agreement about Georgia’s visa-liberalization issue in Luxembourg on June 10. The ministers also discussed visa liberalization prospects for Ukraine, Turkey and Kosovo but with no result.

The viewpoints of EU ministers differ. Some are in favor of the immediate granting visa-liberalization to Georgia, while others claim that a visa-free regime with Georgia will not be wise due to migration problems. In general, everybody agreed that Georgia fulfilled all the requirements for the process.

According to the Dutch State Secretary of Security and Justice, Klaas Dijkhoff - whose country holds the presidency of the EU Council – the EU recognizes Georgia’s progress on the path of visa liberalization but underlines the need of using the so-called suspension mechanism that will allow the EU member countries to suspend the visa free regime at need.

“The EU foreign ministers will discuss the issue of Georgia’s visa liberalization on June 20,” he said, and confirmed that several EU member states are against granting a visa-free regime to Georgia.

The EU Commissioner for Migration, Internal Affairs and Citizenship Issues, Dimitris Avramopulous stated that Georgia has fulfilled all the commitments for visa liberalization. However, he noted that the EU Commission had certain recommendations towards several countries.

“We exchanged opinions over the visa liberalization proposals for Georgia, Ukraine, Kosovo and Turkey. The Commission was very clear in its recommendations. I hope progress in the Council and Parliament will come soon,” he noted.

Sweden’s Minister of Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson said that among the countries they discussed, Georgia is the closest to meet the criteria.

“It is hard to say exactly when the decision will come, but I am quite optimistic about Georgia,” the minister commented.

Thea Tsulukiani, Georgian Justice Minister explained that the concern of some European countries is understandable. However, she still has optimistic expectations.

“We all, except a few citizens of Georgia, are law-abiding and we deserve the granting of visa-liberalization,” said Tsulukiani.

Germany was earlier reported to be the main opponent in the visa waiver process, with France and Belgium. It was said that the main reason for such decision was a police report of 2015, which said that Georgian asylum seekers play an important role in organizing burglaries.

According to the report, the statistics for violent crimes are low among Georgians. However, robberies, thefts, and drug offences are more common. Apart from immigration offences, theft accounted for almost 60% of all crimes committed by Georgian asylum seekers in Germany.