2017.03.30 11:19

The EU launches a visa-free travel from Georgia

Algirdas Acus2017.03.30 11:19

Lithuanian capital, on Wednesday, greeted first visitors from Georgia who arrived without visas after the EU launched a visa-free travel for its citizens.

‘Maybe I will try to play in the streets. Why not?’ said a street musician Ioane Arabuli when he and several dozens of other Georgians were greeted at the Vilnius airport with symbolic gifts and cookies.

The new regulation allows Georgians to travel to the EU for non-work purposes for up to 90 days, over any 180-day period, but it does not apply to the United Kingdom or Ireland.

The block revised its plan in December in order to allow visa requirements to be reintroduced at short notice in case of mass violations of the 90-day limit on stays, or if there is a surge in asylum applications.

Georgia hails a visa-free travel to Europe for its citizens. The country has carried out sweeping reforms, at the EU's request, to address issues of document security, border management, migration and asylum.

‘This is something that Georgia has long aspired and something where Georgia did a lot of homework on this way’, said ambassador of Georgia to Lithuania Khatuna Salukvadze.

Lithuania was one of the strongest supporters of a visa-free travel for Georgia, and representative of the European Commission in Lithuania, Arnoldas Pranckevičius, said it was very symbolic that finally Vilnius airport welcomes ‘first citizens of Georgia who enter EU without visas like free people into free Europe’.

Sound bite (English)

KHATUNA SALUKVADZE, Ambassador of Georgia to Lithuania:

 This is something that Georgia long aspired and something where Georgia did a lot of homework on this way. We think that is was kind of long awaited step and long awaited process.

Sound bite (English)

IOANE ARABULI, street musician:

To see my old friends, to go some bars and drink beer and also play maybe. Maybe I will try to play in the streets. Why not?

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

ARNOLDAS PRANCKEVIČIUS, Chief of European Commission Representation in Vilnius:

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