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© Tbilisi City Hall Department of CulturePrime Minister Giorgi Kwirikaschwili spoke of a “historic day” for his country: On March, 28th, 2017, the visa liberalisation between Georgia and the member states of the Schengen area came into force. Many Georgians, especially liberal supporters, celebrated this long-awaited step in the streets of Tbilisi and other cities. As first citizens of the Caucasus area Georgians no longer need to apply for visa when travelling to the Schengen area.

The resolution of the European Parliament draws a line under a long process. In 2003, the EU-friendly orientation of the government has started. Former President Micheil Saakaschwili implemented reforms, which bound his country closer to the EU. Since 2009, Georgia is a so-called Eastern Partnership Country and in 2016 the Association Agreement between Georgia and the EU came fully into force. All these measures aim to deepen the relations between the European Union and Georgia. Actually the visa liberalisation should have already come into force in 2016, together with the Association Agreement. But the citizens had to wait one year more – the delay was caused by argumentations of the EU member states about the implementation of a suspension mechanism in case of rising criminality.   

Right after the visa liberalisation, Prime Minister Giorgi Kwirikaschwili went on state visits in Athens and Brussels. In Brussels, he received congratulations from Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.       In the long-term, the Georgian governments strives membership in the EU and the NATO. According to experts, a success is unpredictable. Although the status as an Eastern Partnership Country provides a closer relationship with the EU, a membership is not foreseen in the agreements. 

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