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Tbilisi Expects Visa-Free Travel Within EU By End Of June


Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze
Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze

BRUSSELS -- Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze says he expects the European Union to liberalize its visa rules for Georgian citizens by the end of June.

It is expected that the proposal to grant Tbilisi the visa-free regime will be submitted by the EU Commission on March 8.

Speaking to RFE/RL on March 3, Janelidze expressed hope that lawmakers in the European Parliament will handle the case swiftly.

Visa liberalization for Ukrainians and Georgians was being handled together until this week when the European Commission signaled that the process for Georgians could go more quickly.

An EU official told RFE/RL that there are serious concerns about the process for Ukraine because of political instability in Kyiv and the slow pace of Ukrainian reforms.

Several prominent members of the European Parliament have told RFE/RL that they would consider re-coupling the two nations again and would wait for a proposal about Ukraine before voting via-free travel for Georgians.

Based on reporting by Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels