Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia signed an “Agreement on Operational and Strategic Cooperation” together with Director Rob Wainwright of the European Police Office, also referred to as Europol, on April 4th. Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended the ceremony. With this agreement Georgia has become and operative partner country of Europol.
The agreement raises Georgia’s responsibility even more, Prime Minister Kvirikashvili said, regarding achieving EU values. The prime minister also expressed hope that this document will serve as a lever for ensuring security.
The agreement will be sent to the Parliament of Georgia for ratification.
According to information given by the Administration of the Government of Georgia, after the agreement enters into force, Georgia will have the opportunity to cooperate with European law enforcement authorities through Europol. The cooperation will involve both operative and non-operative directions. Georgia will also have the opportunity to participate in united investigative groups organised by Europol and exchange police or operative information or personal data.
Georgian police will also cooperate with Europol when citizens of Georgia overstay their time in the Schengen Zone.
With visa-travel to the Schengen zone, Georgian citizens can travel to 22 member state countries of the European Union and four non-EU member states for 90 days in a 180-day period.
At a plenary session on February 2nd, members of the European Parliament decided to grant Georgians visa free travel to the Schengen zone, with 553 votes in favour, 66 against, and 28 abstentions. On March 1st, the chairman of the European Council and the President of the European Parliament signed the regulation. A week later on March 8th, the regulation on the suspension mechanism and visa free regime for Georgian citizens to travel to the Schengen area was posted in the EU Official Journal.