EU to offer easier visas for Georgians

The European Union on Tuesday proposed Georgia be included in its visa facilitation and readmission mechanism, increasing the number of such beneficiary countries to nine.

The proposal was made by the European Commission, the executive arm of the 27-nation bloc.

Countries currently enjoying the easier visa treatment are Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Moldova.

The Georgia proposal will be put to the European Parliament for endorsement.

“To reduce visa barriers is a way of bringing people closer to one another and to enable citizens to travel, and connect all over Europe,” said Cecilia Malmstrom, European commissioner for home affairs.

Once in force, the visa facilitation treatment will make it easier for Georgians to apply for EU visas with faster procedures, simpler paperwork and lower visa fees.

The readmission treatment will ensure the return of those who illegally stay in the EU.

The EU and Georgia completed negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission in November 2009.

Georgia is one of six European Partnership countries designated by the EU in May 2009 to strengthen relations with its neighbors. The other five are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.

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