The EU Council, the European Parliament and the European Commission agreed at a trilateral meeting on December 13 to move forward with finalising the visa waiver deal with Georgia in parallel with the revision of the suspension mechanism and enforce the visa free regime simultaneously with the visa suspension mechanism.
The European Parliament reached an agreement on the visa suspension mechanism with the Council on December 7 and is expected to discuss it on December 14 and put it to a plenary vote on December 15.
The trilateral political agreement needs to be confirmed by member state representatives (Coreper) and endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee and the Parliament as a whole, probably in January, according to the EU press release.
“At the request of MEPs, the Slovak Presidency promised to write to them by the end of this week confirming that the Council will now do its utmost to speed up the processing of the deal reached on Georgia,” it reads.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that according to the follow-up procedures, the agreed edition of the new rules will be approved by the Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER) and the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).
This will be followed by the vote at the European Parliament’s plenary session, after which the amended regulation will be formally approved by the EU Council at the level of Ministers. Upon signature of the legislative amendment by the President of the European Parliament and a representative of the country holding the EU presidency, the Regulation will be published in the official journal of the EU.
“We hope the outstanding legislative procedures will be completed soon and Georgian citizens holding biometric passports will be able to travel visa-free to the EU/Schengen countries (for 90 days within a 180-day period),” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
Parliament´s rapporteur, Mariya Gabriel said following the trilateral meeting on December 13: “We are entering the final phase towards visa exemption for Georgian citizens. It was extremely important to reach a deal today, to move forward in parallel with the revision of the suspension mechanism and to be ready for a simultaneous entry into force. I am glad that the Council backed our commitment to deliver as soon as possible.”
“At the end of the day we must keep in mind that this is for Georgian citizens to come closer to the European Union – in terms of mobility as well as in terms of political path,” she noted.