Government leaders in Tbilisi are scrambling to address Germany’s stated concerns that granting Georgians visa-free entry to the European Union could lead to higher crime rates.
The EU's economic engine, Germany, reportedly took the lead last week in seeking to delay agreement on easing Schengen-zone travel requirements for Georgia.
At a June 15 meeting, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili tried to assure German Chancellor Angela Merkel that scrapping short-term visas for Georgians will not result in a new social headache for Berlin. “We believe that we will achieve a mutual understanding in this process,” said Kvirikashvili at a joint press conference with Merkel in Berlin.
For good measure, he invited Merkel to Tbilisi; the plans have not been confirmed yet.
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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. He is a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.