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Georgian leaders call on EU to deliver on visa-free travel

by | May 8, 2015

Letter-EU-GeorgianLeaders-May5-2015-002Letter-EU-GeorgianLeaders-May5-2015-001TBILISI, DFWatch–On the background of rumors that Georgia, like other aspirant states Ukraine and Moldova will be disappointed on the upcoming Eastern Partnership Riga Summit the three highest officials of Georgia sent common letter to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, asking for ‘unambiguous endorsement of visa-free regime.’

Signatories of the letter are President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili who write in the letter about the important role that EU plays in the region, especially in recent times when Russia violates sovereignty and territorial integrity of neighbor countries. The three address the EU members that upcoming Riga Summit must show that EU is committed to its fundamental norms and principles.

In terms of EU there are two major expectations in Georgia. First one is clear observation that Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova do have European perspective as member states another expectation is positive assessment of Georgia fulfilling requirements for visa liberalization ahead of visa free rules with the EU states. If Georgia’s progress in this direction is positively assessed this will be a green light for the EU member states to grant visa free rules for Georgian citizens.

Radio Liberty published the latest draft of the Eastern Partnership declaration for the Riga Summit which will take place on May 21-22, doesn’t include clear observation that the aspirant states will one day join the Union.

“”In the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership, the summit participants reaffirm the sovereign right of each partner freely to choose the level of ambition and the goals to which it aspires in its relations with the European Union. It is for the EU and its sovereign to decide on how they want to proceed in their relations,” Reads the draft published by RFERL.

The document doesn’t mention visa liberalization either.

Tedo Japaridze, MP from the Georgian Dream coalition, who chairs Foreign Affairs committee in Parliament, said in an interview with daily newspaper Rezonansi that government never promised people that Georgia would get visa free rules with EU on the upcoming summit.

Japaridze said he read the document published by RFERL and later by Reuters but he is not sure if the information is true. He reminded about the statement of Foreign Minister of Germany, who said few days ago after meeting with Georgian colleague in Germany, that Georgia does well in implementing works before visa liberalization process.

“We hope that the European perspective of Georgia will be acknowledged and most importantly, that substantial progress will be made with regard to visa liberalization,” leaders of Georgia meanwhile write in their letter.



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