European Union concludes visa agreements with GeorgiaJanuary 19th, 2011 - 12:21 am ICT by BNO News
BRUSSELS (BNO NEWS) — The European Union (EU) on Tuesday concluded two visa-related agreements with Georgia that will enter into force in two months.
The EU Council reached one agreement on visa facilitation and another on readmission. Both agreements will be implemented on March 1 and the pacts will ease travel for Georgian citizens within Europe.
The visa facilitation agreement will allow Georgians to acquire short stay visas for travels to and throughout the Euro zone. A short stay visa consists of a permit for a visit of no more than 90 days per period of 180 days.
Since June 2006, EU citizens have been exempt from the visa obligation when traveling to or transiting through Georgia. This new agreement will reduce the documentation required for a visa application in certain cases.
The citizens that will benefit from these new short stay visas are close relatives who are visiting Georgian citizens residing in the EU, businessmen, scientists, students and journalists.
The agreement also reduced the visa handling fee from 60 Euros ($80) to 35 Euros ($46) for all Georgians. Holders of diplomatic passports are exempted from the visa obligation.
The negotiations between the European Commission and Georgia on the visa agreements began on November 28, 2008, upon request from the Council. The agreement was signed in June 2010 and was consented in December by the European Parliament.
The readmission agreement set out obligations and procedures for the EU and Georgia in relation to when and how to take back people who are illegally residing on the territories of the parties involved.
It covers third country nationals and stateless persons being in an irregular situation as well as illegally staying nationals of both parties (EU and Georgia) only if they have a clear link with the requested party.
The EU established a Joint Readmission Committee in order to monitor the application of the agreements as well as the respect of human rights during the application of readmission agreements.
Eight countries have signed visa facilitation and readmission agreements with the EU so far: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Russia, Serbia and Ukraine.
Last week, the European Commission proposed a €46 million ($61 million) macro-financial assistance (MFA) to Georgia to support its economic recovery stemming from the 2008 armed conflict with Russia and the global crisis.
The proposed aid is part of a comprehensive package from the European Union totaling €500 million ($666.85 million). The program was designed along the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under a Stand-By Arrangement.
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Tags: bno, brussels, businessmen, diplomatic passports, euro zone, european commission, european parliament, european union, facilitation, georgians, journalists, march 1, negotiations, pacts, short stay, stateless persons, third country nationals, visa agreements, visa application, visas