Minister Linkevičius: Georgians and Lithuanians appreciate benefits of visa-free travel
On 23 April in Vilnius, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania Linas Linkevičius met with the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia. The two Ministers discussed the results of the EU visa waiver programme over the past year and Georgia’s further commitment to ensuring the implementation of a safe migration and mobility policy.
“Over the first year more than 250, 000 citizens of Georgia have travelled visa-free to the Schengen area. It’s a great opportunity to develop people-to-people contacts in various fields, including in the spheres of tourism, culture, business or studies,” Minister Linkevičius said.
During the meeting, the interlocutors also paid attention to the fact that lately the number of Georgian asylum applicants had been considerably increasing in some EU member states. Lithuania’s Foreign Minister positively assessed the actions by the Government of Georgia, such as amendments to the law and new publicity campaigns to address this trend as soon as possible.
“The context of migration remains complex, so both the EU member states and Georgia must give due attention to the issue and seek common solutions. We see that Georgia shows a clear commitment to addressing challenges faced by them, so we have no doubt that they will reap positive results in the nearest future,” Linkevičius stressed.
The visa free travel came into effect for Georgia on 28 March 2017. Citizens of Georgia with biometric passports are now able to travel to 26 EU member states (except Great Britain and Ireland) and 4 associated members of the Schengen area (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) without visas for 90 days in the 180 day period.