EU: ‘Good Progress’ in Georgia’s Implementation of Visa Free Action Plan

The European Commission said on November 15 that Georgia has made a “very good progress” in the first few months of implementing its VisaLiberalisation Action Plan.

Georgia and the EU launched the visa liberalisation talks in June, 2012 andVisa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) was presented to Georgia in late February, 2013.

VLAP represents a set of detailed requirements that a country should meet in order to be granted by the EU short-term visa-free regime.

The plan addresses areas related to document security, border management, migration, mobility and asylum, as well as other issues such as the fight against corruption and organized crime, protection of human rights, minorities, and anti-discrimination, which are relevant to ensure that mobility takes place in a secure and well-managed environment.

“The Commission considers that Georgia has made very good progress in the implementation of the first phase VLAP benchmarks,” the European Commission said in its first progress report assessing implementation of the plan.

The first phase benchmarks includes the overall policy framework – legislation and institutions; its implementation should then pave the way for the second phase benchmarks relating to putting into practice effective and sustainable implementation of the relevant measures.

“The legislative and policy framework required by [first phase] benchmarks on document security, including biometrics, and benchmarks concerning integrated border management is already at an advanced stage of fulfillment,” the progress report reads.

“Georgia is also progressing well in the implementation of the first phase benchmarks relating to migration management, asylum, public order and security, and external relations and fundamental rights,” it says.

Also on November 15, the European Commission announced that Moldova has met all the benchmarks under its VLAP and therefore it will recommend lifting visa requirements for those citizens of Moldova who hold biometric passports. VLAP was presented to Moldova in January, 2011.

The European Commission also released on November 15 third progress report on Ukraine saying that although the country made a “substantial progress”, some important requirements remain to be met, among them related to legal framework for issuing biometric passports, anti-corruption measures, asylum, and strengthening of anti-discrimination legislative framework.

Progress reports for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine were released by the European Commission two weeks before the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius where Georgia expects to initial Association Agreement with the EU.

Source: www.civil.ge

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