The EU parliament and Council struck a deal last week on the issue of visa liberalization for Ukraine and Georgia. The EU Commission and Member States will be able to re-impose visa requirements under new rules agreed by Parliament and Council on 7 December 2016.
The European Union parliament will be debating this issue on the 14th December in Strasbourg followed by a vote on the 15th December.
This agreement will enable the immediate consideration of the two visa liberalization proposals for Georgia and Ukraine. According to the deal, visa requirements may be reintroduced for a non-EU country if there is: a substantial increase in the number of nationals of that country refused entry; an increase in unfounded asylum applications; or a lack of cooperation on returns of migrants.
The question of visa liberalization is of critical importance for almost all Georgians. If the European Union passes it, as most expect, it could transform the lives of many people. From students, who want to travel to Europe to study, to professional musicians who want to perform in Europe, to businessmen, who need to travel. There are fears in Georgia that procrastination on the issue will play into the hands of Russia.
00:00 PTC with Tbilisi in background: Over the next few months, the European Parliament is due to discuss the question of activating visa liberalization for Georgia. Georgia has been working on the visa liberalization plan for three years. So what should Georgians expect from it and what do the experts think about the foot-dragging on the issue. This report from Georgia:
00:23 slow downwards pan to young woman playing piano;
00:30 hands on keys;
00:34 mid-shot across piano to Irma Gigani, the pianist;
00:39 close-up of Gigani’s face;
00:42 mid-shot of her playing the piano;
00:45 close-up of strings;
00:49 soundbite of Irma Gigani: – “For artistic performers it’s really hard to know exactly when you are likely to have to travel. Sometimes you get last-minute calls to perform in a concert and because it takes so long to get the visa documents ready in time you can’t go.”
01:00 student walking up steps;
01:05 pân from bust of Melikishvili to student, who exits the frame;
01:13 wide-shot of Tbilisi university building;
01:16 soundbite of student, Giorgi Akobia: “Visa liberalization will be great for improving my education.It’ll be easier for me to travel to Europe to study and learn from experienced specialists. And that’ll help me make more progress in my profession.”
01:35: wide-shot of parked cars;
01:38: hands polishing car;
01:41 - mid-shot of man polishing car;
01:43 – pan of German number plate;
01:45 – man in red with customers;
01:48 - line of cars, soundbite of Tamaz Beriashvili begins out of frame;
01:49 soundbite of Tamaz Beriashvili, car salesman: – “I travel to Europe about 10 times a year but that will probably go up to 15 to 20 times. I bring about 7-8 cars for sale but my profits will go up by 700-800 euros if I don’t have to send someone else in my place. That’s profit.”
01:59 pan of Tbilisi old city centre;
02:06 graphic of EU flag superimposed on Georgian flag;
02:12 set-up shots of Gaga Gogolishvili, expert;
02:19 soundbite of Gogolilshvili: – “From the political point of view, the situation is ready for them to take this decision. In the institutions of the European Union, it’s fully expected that the decision will be taken before the year’s end.”
02:32 GVs European Parliamentary session (archive);
02:42 soundbite of Johannes Hahn, member of the European Commission in charge of EU Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, from ec.europa.eu website archive: HD_I128907INT1W.mp4 – “This includes of course visa liberalization. I can only repeat what I have said several times. Georgia and Ukraine have fulfilled the conditions and I expect very soon that there is a positive decision because the countries and their citizens deserve it.”
03:02 flags outside EU Parliament building; wideshot of EU Parliament; GVs of parliament.