- Associated Press - Thursday, February 2, 2017

BRUSSELS (AP) - European Union lawmakers have sealed an agreement to allow Georgian citizens into Europe’s passport-free area without visas for short stays.

Lawmakers endorsed the visa waiver Thursday by 553 votes to 66, with 28 abstentions.

It will allow Georgians with a biometric passport to enter the 26-nation Schengen area for 90 days for business, tourist or family reasons but not to work. The waiver can only begin once a mechanism is in place allowing visas to be reintroduced in emergencies like a migration surge or a security threat.

Prime Minister Georgi Kvirikashvili said on Twitter: “This is truly a historic day! Thank you to the European Parliament for conferring visa-free connections to Europe upon Georgian citizens.”

EU member states must endorse the agreement, but that is expected to be a formality.

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