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EU to start visa-free regime from late March

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, February 28
The European Union (EU) Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, Dimitris Avramopoulos, hopes that from late March Georgians will be able to enjoy short-term visa-free travel to the Schengen area.

Avramopoulos made the statement on February 27, at the joint press-conference with Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

“A final decision has already been made and the time has come to celebrate this step forward together,” the EU Commissioner stated shortly after the EU Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council adopted a regulation on visa liberalization for Georgians travelling to the EU for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period.

Avramopoulos underlined that this decision was Georgia’s another step closer to the EU.

“A final decision was already made and the time came to celebrate this step forward together,” he added.

Kvirikashvili also congratulated Georgians on the good news. According to him, this was the final step in the decision-making process.

"I welcome the people of Georgia and congratulate them with pleasure on this day. We are very pleased that the European Council has approved the final change in the regulation, which provides for the introduction of visa-free travel for the citizens of Georgia,” he said.

The Prime Minister also spoke about the “huge responsibility”, following the process.

“We are implementing a number of preventive measures to avoid possible risks, including large-scale intensive information campaign about the visa-free regime ", said the Prime Minister.

Kvirikashvili underlined that the all benefits of visa liberalization will affect the populations of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions as well.

The PM thanked all the members of his team, as well as European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Ambassador to Georgia Janos Herman, and the Ambassadors of the EU countries who visited and supported Georgia.

Avramopoulos also met the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili. The key issue of the discussions was Georgia’s visa-liberalization issue.

“I am happy that the President of Georgia is a wise leader, who strives to ensure that Europe opens the door to Georgia. His political values match those principles and values on which Europe is built," said the commissioner at the meeting with Margvelashvili.