Visa-Free Travel to EU Politically Significant for Georgia

The Georgian prime minister on Friday described visa-free travel to the European Union (EU) for his countrymen and women as politically significant in that Georgian passports would be attractive to residents in Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The prime minister made the statement during the 11th annual Georgia’s European Way international conference now underway in Batumi, Georgia’s Black Sea coastal city.

Irakli Gharibashvili said, “All pre-conditions exist to examine the visa-free travel process in a short-term framework. It is politically significant for Georgia, in terms of visa-free travel. Georgian passports will be more attractive for the population of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) for our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers.”

The prime minister personally signed a EU association agreement on June 27 in Brussels.

EU ambassador to Georgia Philip Dimitrov told the annual conference that the Georgian market will enter the joint European market although there are still issues to be sorted out by the end of 2015 and some even a bit later.

“This process will have its stages but Georgia will receive the main advantages immediately,” said the EU diplomat. “Of course I do not mean that Georgia will be given breakfast in bed but the country will be provided with modern resources.”

Georgian Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili said at the conference, “We will manage to establish European standards in our country and at the same time we should preserve our culture and traditions.”

The speaker recalled the efforts by Eduard Shevardnadze and Zurab Zhvania who had both promoted the concept of European integration.


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