Prospects for visa liberalization between the EU and Georgia

3 Nov, 2014

According to the statement made by the Government of Georgia, it is quite possible that Georgian citizens will no longer require visas to travel to Europe by the end of 2015. How realistic is the expectation and to what extent the Government of Georgia could implement the requirements of EU-Georgia Action Plan on Visa Liberalization since 2013. However, Georgia still remains #1 in terms of visa refusal rate among all six Eastern Partnership states with the total visa refusal rate of 12% in 2013. The number of asylum seekers from Georgia is also the highest of all Eastern Partnership states (in 2012, 9.110 Georgian citizens applied for asylum to the EU). According to the report submitted by the U.S. Department of State, the Government of Georgian still fails to effectively combat human trafficking. Implementation of successful reforms in these areas is one of the prerequisites for the EU’s decision to grant Georgia with a visa free travel to Schengen area.

Presentation of a policy document on Visa-free travel to Europe – Prospects for Georgia and a new brochure How to get a Schengen Visawas held on October 23, in the Conference Hall of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. The key issues discussed during the meeting were the new visa policy, developed by the Government of Georgia and its impact on foreign nationals living in Georgia. Namely: What are the achievements made by the government of Georgia since 2013 towards implementing the VLAP and how realistic is the promise that Georgian citizens will no longer require visas to travel to Europe by the end of 2015.

The meeting was led by the representative of the Stefan Batory Foundation, Krzysztof Mrozek and the EU Integration Program Manager at the Open Society Georgia Foundation, Ivane Chkhikvadze.