European Union recommends visa-free regime for Ukraine, Georgia, Kosovo

  19 December 2015    Read: 1219
European Union recommends visa-free regime for Ukraine, Georgia, Kosovo
The European Commission says both Georgia and Ukraine meets all benchmarks for getting visa free travel to the European Union`s Schengen zone, possibly allowing the citizens of the two countries to travel to the EU without visas as soon as 2016.
The EU regulation No. 539/2001, which is expected to be amended, establishes a list of countries whose citizens do not require a visa for entry to all European Union countries, except Britain and Ireland.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has called the Russian President`s statement about cancelling the visa regime to Georgia the right step.

It took six months for Moldovans to achieve visa free travel after the positive report of the Commission, but in the current political climate some larger member states, particularly Germany, are afraid that visa liberalization will increase the flow of migrants into the EU. "The hard work towards achieving this significant goal has paid off. Now it is important to keep upholding all the standards", he stressed.

The exemption from visa requirement concerns only short-stays, up to 90 days in any 180-day period for business, touristic or family purposes.

Negotiations about visa liberalization began in June, 2012.

These benchmarks were set with a view to adopting a legislative, policy and institutional framework (phase 1) and ensuring its effective and sustainable implementation (phase 2). The EU set out an action plan for Georgia`s visa liberalization process in February, 2013.

The commission didn`t confirm the date, saying the recommendations will be released "shortly". It also adopted a report on Kosovo`s progress in meeting criteria for visa-free travel. Today`s report is the sixth and last progress report.

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