European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) adopted on January 12 the agreement reached between the European Parliament and the Council on visa liberalisation for Georgia.
According to the agreement reached on December 13, the visa free regime will be enforced for Georgian citizens simultaneously with the visa suspension mechanism, which has already been approved by the European Parliament and needs to be formally approved by the EU Council.
The EPP Group, the largest political group in the European Parliament, issued a statement following the vote on Georgia, saying that “the visa liberalisation process has proven to be an effective tool for advancing far-reaching complex reforms in the country bringing it closer to European values and democratic standards.”
“Voting with an overwhelming majority on visa waiver the European Parliament sends a strong message of its continual support to Georgia,” Parliament´s rapporteur, Mariya Gabriel posted on her Twitter following the vote.
Gabriel also called on the Council to proceed as soon as possible, according to the EPP Group statement.
“On the road to visa liberalisation, Georgia has gone far beyond the requirements set out by the EU. The overwhelming majority of MEPs confirmed today that Georgian citizens immediately deserve to travel freely to the EU”, Gabriel noted.
“We want our European Union to be surrounded by a ring of friends. Georgia is a strategic partner in our Eastern neighbourhood. Visa liberalisation and the Association Agreement are like an anchor that can stabilise the political course in the long-run. We are not only bringing Georgian citizens closer to European Union values but we are also making sure that we make the EU safer. Georgia is an important partner for reinforcing our common security,” the Rapporteur added.
Georgian Foreign Ministry released a statement after the vote, “welcoming" the vote results and expressing hope that the procedures would end “in the nearest period.”
The agreement will now be put to vote in the European Parliament’s plenary session and will come into force following the Parliament’s and the Council’s subsequent signatures.
Vote in the European Parliament’s plenary session is to be held in February, according to LIBE committee press.