TBILISI, DFWatch–The European Commission is satisfied with how Georgia has completed first phase of a visa action plan which might lead to visa free travel with the EU.

The evaluation is particularly important because compliance with the action plan is expected to be rewarded with a free trade agreement when policy makers meet next weekend in Vilnius for a summit of the EU’s Eastern Partnership.

If the Union initializes an Association Agreement with Georgia in Vilnius, this will include what is called a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA).

In 2009, Georgia was included in the EU’s Eastern Partnership, and on November 30 that year, a common declaration on Partnership for Mobility was signed in Brussels. Official cooperation between the EU and Georgia started on February 16, 2010.

On June 17, 2010, Georgia and the EU signed an agreement in Brussels about simplifying visa procedures. On November 22, 2010, another agreement about readmission of illegal citizens was signed. Both agreements came into force on March 1, 2011.

On July 15, 2010, negotiations started about an Association Agreement with the EU. DCFTA is part of that agreement.

February 28, 2012, negotiations about DCFTA officially started. June 4, 2012, there began a dialogue betwen Georgia and the EU about visa free travel.

According to Georgia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, in its first report about the implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan, the European Commission writes that Georgia achieved very good progress in this area.

The European Commission assesses the progress achieved by Georgia on the basis of an assessment mission of EU experts who visited the country 10-11 October.

The European Commission took into consideration the results of the Georgia-EU Joint Committees dialogue on visa facilitation and readmission: the EU-Georgia Co-operation Sub-committee on Justice, Freedom and Security and the EU-Georgia Human Rights Dialogue. Co-operation between Georgia and the European Union in each area was assessed as progressive, according to the ministry.

“The legislative and policy framework on document security and integrated border management are at an advanced state of fulfillment,” the ministry writes, quoting the report. “Georgia is also progressing well in the implementation of the benchmarks relating to migration management, asylum, public order and security, and external relations and fundamental rights.”

The European Commission will continue to monitor and assist Georgia in implementing the action plan.