Georgia fulfills all benchmarks for visa free regime with EU
The European Commission said Georgia has fulfilled all the benchmarks of its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) and it will propose in "early 2016" to the EU-member states to allow visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian citizens, Georgian Civil.ge online news service reported.
"The Commission considers that Georgia meets all the benchmarks set in respect of the four blocks of the second phase of the VLAP," said the report. "Taking into account overall relations between the EU and Georgia, the Commission will present, early 2016, a legislative proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 539/2001."
Council Regulation (EC) No 539/2001 of March 15, 2001 lists the Non-EU Member Countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement.
"The Commission considers that Georgia meets all the benchmarks set in respect of the four blocks of the second phase of the VLAP," reads the European Commission's fourth and final progress report.
The VLAP, which was presented by the EU to Georgia in February 2013, is a set of detailed requirements that the country had to meet in order to become eligible for visa-free regime with the Schengen area.
After approval from the European Parliament and the EU-member states, Georgian citizens, holding biometric passports, will be able to enter the Schengen area without visa more than one time during 90 days in any 180-day period.
Also on December 18, the European Commission released sixth report on Ukraine's visa liberalisation, which, like in respect of Georgia, also says that it will present in early 2016 legislative proposal to grant visa-free regime to Ukraine; it will also require approval of the EU member states and the European Parliament.