TBILISI, DFWatch – The EU Monday launched talks with Georgia about visa-free travel.
According to Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze had a meeting with Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, in Brussels, which marked the start of a dialogue on visa-free movement between the EU and Georgia.
The Ministry underlines the great importance of visa free movement for each Georgian citizen as well as the country’s integration with Europe.
The dialogue follows a visit by a group of experts from the EU in March 2012. Their conclusion after the trip was that Georgia is ready to start a dialogue with the EU about visa-free travel.
The next stage in the process will be to prepare an action plan, which will be ready in the fall of 2013, which coincides with a visit by Malmström to Georgia, according to the foreign ministry.
According to the statement, the action plan will consist of four standard blocs in regards to liberalization of visa rules with the EU. These are: the safety of documents, illegal migration, public order and security; and foreign relations and human rights. Satisfactory results in each of these areas is a necessary condition for waiving visa rules.
On March 1 2011, a new agreement came into force which is meant to simplify procedures for applying for a visa for Georgians who want to travel to the EU.
On Sunday, President Saakashvili spoke about the new dialog about visa-freedom with the EU.
“I have to mention that in terms of border controls we are one of the most advanced countries in Europe based on a European Union surveys, we are the first country in Europe that has electronic gates,” he said addressing the participants of European Week.
“These make it possible to enter if you have an electronic chip on your passport without seeing any border guards. Even the border guards are very nice and pleasant, you will go through and they will just scan you. So we will have visa free travel, we are working on DCFTA.DCFTA means that by the end of next year we will have basically something much bigger than Turkey had as a customs union, as a result of which Turkey has evolved very dramatically, and I think Georgia is getting a much better chance.”