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EU Commissioner Hahn has High Hopes for Georgia’s Visa Liberalisation

A European Union (EU) official responsible for deepening EU relations with the south and east is ending his Georgia visit on a positive note, claiming the country will receive a positive outcome regarding visa liberalisation with the EU.

Today EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn met with Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelahsvili, diplomatic corps, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and experts at the Presidential Palace in Avlabari, Tbilisi.

After the meeting he said: “Georgia will get a positive response regarding visa liberalisation with the European Union in mid-December this year.” 

We have a special methodology when granting visa liberalisation, based on which we never differentiate small and big countries, whether the nations are closer to the EU or not.

 I want to say that Georgia acts well. Of course, I cannot predict the content of the document released by the EU in December about Georgia but I believe that the result will be positive,” Hahn said. 

While speaking to media about Georgia’s European ambitions Georgia’s President emphasised the next, logical step for Georgia on its path towards European integration was visa liberalisation.

Allowing visa-free travel to EU states will deepen trade and cultural ties between Georgia and the EU. It will provide more EU in Georgia and more Georgia in the EU. Such a solution carries utmost importance for Georgian citizens,” Margvelashvili said.

Touching on Georgia’s role in Europe, President Margvelashvili said the country could play “a crucial role” that connected Europe with Asia.

This is Georgia’s transit function. Georgia connects significant business areas with one another,” he said, adding Georgia had done its utmost to provide the best business climate that was free from corruption and bureaucratic complications, and was a loyal business partner. 

It is important that we have a free trade regime with European states, post-Soviet states and with Turkey. We have launched negotiations to introduce free trade with China and we are very eager to start similar talks with the United States,” the President said.

On the topic of regional security and stability, Margvelashvili stressed Georgia was one of the first states to experience Russian aggression as a result of its, free, European choice.

Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, which are the leader countries of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) are facing serious territorial infractions due to Russia, as [Russia] tries to expand its influence on its neighboring countries,” Margvelashvili stated.

He stressed despite permanent threats from Russia, Georgia had contributed significantly to international peace and implemented reforms to bring the country closer to the EU space.

We are moving ahead to achieve our major geopolitical goal; for Georgia to be an EU member state,” Margvelashvili said. 

On another note, to better support education in Georgia President Margvelashvili expressed his wish for closer ties with European high educational institutions. In this context Margvelashvili mentioned the Georgia-United States joint Millennium Challenge Program – an American education scheme available in Georgia – and stressed that he wished to see such programs with European universities.

Hahn arrived in Georgia early yesterday and is due to depart later this evening. On the first day of his visit he attended the sixth informal EaP meeting in Tbilisi. Today Hahn was scheduled to meet Georgia’s Prime Minister and other local high officials.