Saakashvili: EU, Georgia to Announce 'Visa Free Roadmap'
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 30 May.'12 / 02:17

In few days Georgia and EU will announce about "roadmap for visa liberalization", President Saakashvili said after meeting with his Latvian counterpart Andris Bērziņš in Riga on May 29.

He said it "means that, hopefully, within next couple of years Georgians will travel to all the European countries visa-free."

"Roadmap" for visa-free travel with the EU is "the result of our very strong readmission policy and our combat [against] the crime," President Saakashvili said.

Among three South Caucasus states, Georgia, which has visa facilitation and readmission  agreements with the EU, has the largest rate of visa refusals in the EU states' consulates, according to a research released in April. Refusal rate ranged between 10,8% in 2007 and 15.3% last year, peaking to 17.2% in 2009.

EU was using "roadmap" - a set of detailed requirements that a country should meet in order to be granted short-term visa-free regime - in respect of Western Balkan states. In respect of its eastern neighbors, the EU calls similar set of detailed requirements "action plan".

EU foreign ministers stated after thier meeting in Brussels in February, 2012, that the EU was ready "to take gradual steps, including establishing a two-phased Visa Action Plan, towards a visa-free regime in a secure and well managed environment in due course."

Among six Eastern Partnership countries two - Moldova and Ukraine - were presented with visa liberalization actions plans by the EU in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Action plans address such areas as document security, border and migration management, asylum policy, public order and security, including the fight against organised crime and trafficking in human beings. Two-phased action plans involve legislation harmonization with the EU in the first phase and then addressing specific benchmarks aimed at producing concrete results on the ground.

"We are very convinced about our European integration chances," President Saakashvili said on May 29. 

"Next year we hope to conclude [talks on] deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with EU,” he said.

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