As from this morning (Tuesday, 28 March) Georgian citizens can travel to European Schengen countries without the need of a visa. The move follows a long process requiring Georgia to implement a number of reforms and measures, and a complicated process to secure its approval by European governments. At last however a symbolic barrier dividing Georgia from Europe has been torn down, and many in Georgia are thrilled.
Celebrations have been held in Tbilisi and other Georgian towns, and friendly European governments have sent messages of congratulations.
Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that "of all the steps taken over the last two decades to bring Georgia and Europe closer together, this one step is the one that Georgian people will feel most tangibly and directly. Gone are now the long delays and humiliating interviews at Consulates to obtain the Schengen visa. Instead, given that they have the right passport and tickets Georgians can travel freely in Europe for business and pleasure. It is a good day for both Georgia and Europe. Through their political committment, pro European policies, and implementation of difficult reforms the Georgian people have earned this right and deserve to be congratulated."
photo: The twelve stars of the European Union flag temporarily replaced with twelve khingali - a traditional Georgian dish, in a photo that went viral on social media as Georgians celebrated on the day that they could start travelling visa-free to Europe.
Getting the Eastern Neighbourhood right is a key necessity for the future security and prosperity of Europe. The Brussels summit offers an opportunity for important steps on this matter in the right direction – not as an end in themselves but rather as a part of a longer term and more ambitious vision.
An incident at a military facility of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic resulted in three Armenian soldiers killed and one seriously injured. It is not clear what the exact circumstances of the incident were, but for the moment it is being treated as an accident.