On 28th April 2014 Republic of Moldova became the first Eastern Partnership country to break through the Schengen paper wall. The citizens of the Republic of Moldova can now travel to the European Union without needing a visa and going through the humiliating process of obtaining one.
This sets a precedent for other Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine that visa-free travel is achievable if they manage to implement respective reforms and establish a secure environment for migration. It also shows that the “political aspect” of the liberalisation, namely the decision to waive visa obligation for the respective third country, taken by the European Parliament and the Council, is not impossible and should not be considered as an insurmountable obstacle that disables the visa liberalisation with the EU’s Eastern neighbours.
The Government of Georgia (GoG) has stated that it is committed to implement the reforms envisaged by the EU/Georgia Visa Liberalisation Action Plan. The GoG aimed to accomplish the first phase of VLAP by the summer of 2014 (however this deadline already passed), to finalise the second (implementation) phase of the VLAP by the end of 2015 and to achieve visa-free travel from the start of 2016.
The aim of this policy paper is to discuss the progress made by Georgia in achieving a visa-free regime with the EU, to analyse the main challenges faced in the reform process and issue recommendations for further actions by both the Georgian and EU authorities.
The whole document can be read here: Georgias_time_policy_paper.