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EU Ministers Discuss Visa Liberalisation, But No Decision Expected
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Jun.'16 / 16:04

EU ministers in the justice and home affairs council are meeting in Luxembourg on June 10 to discuss, among other issues, visa liberalisation for Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey and Kosovo, but no decision is expected at today’s session.

“There is no sufficient support to take a decision today,” said Klaas Dijkhoff, the Dutch State Secretary of Security and Justice, whose country holds the presidency of the EU Council.

“I think we have to accept that few countries are still having some objections and they will have the opportunity to share them with all the colleagues what those [objections] are and how we can resolve them,” he told journalists before the meeting.

Georgia’s hopes for finalizing visa liberalisation process this summer have faded after last-minute objection from Germany.

“I agree it [the EU visa waiver] is hugely important for the citizens of Georgia,” Emily Haber, the Secretary of State at the Ministry of the Interior of Germany, told journalists before the council meeting in Luxembourg on June 10.

“However, we have to look at emergency mechanism that will make sure that we can make corrective measures should we see that there is a massive abuse of visa free travel,” she added.

EU ministers in Home Affairs and Justice Council approved on May 20 German and French proposal to make it easier and faster to suspend visa free travel rules for third countries; the proposal has yet to be approved by the European Parliament. 

Although visa waiver for Georgia, which has met all the criteria set by the European Commission, appears the least controversial compared to Turkey, Ukraine and Kosovo, Georgia’s issue seems to be, as some MEPs have put it a “hostage” of controversy surrounding visa waiver for Turkey and Ukraine. 
 
Sweden’s Minister of Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson, said before the council meeting on June 10 that “among the countries we are discussing, Georgia is the country that is the closest to meeting criteria.”

Asked if the decision on visa waiver for Georgia is possible this summer, he responded: “It is hard to say exactly when the decision will come, but I am quite optimistic about Georgia.”

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