The long legal process to enable Georgian citizens to travel to EU Schengen countries for tourism and business purposes, without the need of a visa, moved one step forward on Monday when the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposal.
44 MEPs voted in favour, and five were against. The proposal will now go to a full plenary session of the parliament, likely in October. The process will then be put for the final approval of the 'trilogue' a process involving the parliament, EU member states and the European Commission.
Georgia has undertaken very significant reforms in recent years as part of its efforts to establish closer ties with the European Union. These included significant changes to both legislation and practices in order to ensure visa free travel for its citizens to the EU. The matter was due for consideration before the summer but was delayed due to issues related to some other asspirant countries for visa free travel. On Monday the European Parliament gave the go-ahead for the process to continue with regards to Georgia and Ukraine, but stopped short of doing the same in the case of Kosovo. Issues related to visa free travel for Turkey are also stalled.
photo: the Plenary Session of the European parliament (archive picture)
A raft of issues are complicating relations between long time allies Turkey and the United States. But both sides continue using diplomatic back-channels to get as many concessions as possible from each other without fatally harming bilateral relations, argues Benyamin Poghosyan in this op-ed