01.02.2011 MEP Zdanoka's speech on visa facilitation and readmission (13.12.2010)
Mr President, our political group supports the visa facilitation agreement between the EU and Georgia.
However, we have some reservations on the agreement on readmission. We voted against it in the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs and submitted a written minority opinion, because the agreement contains numerous ambiguities which might be clarified in the Joint Readmission Committee. It does not include strict safeguards concerning the violation of fundamental rights and guaranteeing high standards of reception, which are poor in Georgia. It aims at returning people to a country where sexual and gender-based violence is rife and police ill-treatment tolerated. It applies also to those former residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia who do not have any de facto links to Georgia.
And now some words on the visa agreement with Russia. Three years ago a report was adopted on visa facilitation with Russia, which passed my own amendment saying that the requirement of the mandatory registration procedure is a serious obstacle to travel within Russia and the EU. Unfortunately nothing has changed since that time and this is crucially important for my electorate who travel to Russia for private visits.