Several days before the event, a German official demanded that visa-free travel for Georgia be cancelled
Nineteen Georgian citizens who flew from Kutaisi to Memmingen on 13 February were refused entry into Germany, reports the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
“Ten citizens of Georgia returned to Georgia on the Memmingen – Kutaisi flight. Nine of them were transferred to the transit zone at the Munich airport,” says the MFA statement.
It is not clear what the reason for the refusal was. The passengers who returned home to Georgia are also unsure. One of them told journalists that it is possible he was not allowed into Germany because he did not have a hotel reservation.
The Georgian media says that several days earlier on 8 February Joachim Stamp, a Member of the Cabinet of Ministers of North Rhine-Westphalia, demanded an end to the visa-free travel arrangement with Georgia. He says that lately, the number of Georgian citizens that come to Germany and then end up staying in the country as refugees has been increasing, as have the number of crimes committed by Georgians.
Georgia has received similar warnings from the European Union. The European Commission says without equivocation that Georgian criminal groups have become a big problem for Europe.
The press office of the government says that Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held an emergency meeting with members of the cabinet of ministers over the issue.
“The government of Georgia plans to implement stricter measures in order to offset the difficulties that face the country after visa-free travel was implemented between Georgia and the EU,” says the statement.
• Visa-free travel between Georgia and the EU came into force on 28 March 2017. Since this date up until the end of December of last year 170 000 Georgian citizens have travelled visa free to Europe.
• The European Union has the right to implement a so-called ‘suspension mechanism’ to re-examine the visa-free arrangement if Georgia does not fulfill its obligations.