European Parliament Approves Visa-Free Schengen Travel For Georgia

 European Parliament Approves Visa-Free Schengen Travel For Georgia

European Union Flags. Image: Hans (Pixabay).

BRUSSELS — The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to approve visa liberalization for Georgia, paving the way for Georgians to travel to the European Union’s Schengen zone without obtaining visas.

European lawmakers backed visa liberalization, long anticipated in Georgia, by a vote of 553 to 66, with 28 abstentions.

Georgians will still have to wait for the European Parliament and the European Council to vote on a mechanism allowing for the suspension of visa-free regimes with countries, including Georgia and Ukraine, under certain circumstances once they are in place.

The suspension mechanism was given preliminary approval in December. EU diplomats have told RFE/RL that the final European Parliament vote is expected at the next plenary session, on February 13-16, and that EU member states are poised to agree on it on February 27 or 28.

Georgians are likely to be able to travel visa-free to the Schengen zone starting in late March or early April, diplomats say.

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Rikard Jozwiak

Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.


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