Positive feedback from Eastern Partnership meeting
By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, February 14
The European Union Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fule and other high ranking European officials, continue their meetings within the framework of the Eastern Partnership informal dialogue in Tbilisi.
The first day of the dialogue was very busy for the EU delegation, as apart from the news conference for the media and meeting with the State Minister for Integration into European and Euro-Atlantic Structures, Aleksi Petriashvili, the EU officials later met with President Mikheil Saakashvili as well as with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Saakashvili hosted the EU Commissioner at the presidential palace on February 12th. The president said that Georgia now has a "historic chance" to receive the status of a candidate country. He also said that the existing disagreement between the political parties should not hamper the process of integration with the EU.
According to the president, Georgia is now ready for the Vilnius Summit and for signing the Association agreement with EU. Fule agreed the country should not miss that chance.
PM Ivanishvili and EU Commissioner Fule also spoke with the media. The PM once again emphasized that the new government will do its best in promoting the country's integration with the European Union. Ivanishvili hopes that the Vilnius Summit will bring positive results to Georgia and the country will initial the Association Agreement with the EU. He also mentioned that on the way to integration, Georgia still has a number of issues that need to be resolved and the absence of cohabitation is one of them.
Fule informed that member states are determined to start working on a visa liberalization action plan for Georgia. He also advised Georgians to start working on cohabitation. “Cohabitation is not the most favorite word anywhere in the world, but it is a matter of reality and it is up to politicians to deliver the best, within the framework of cohabitation,” Fule said. He hopes that Georgia will become a successful example for the region.
Fule also confirmed his gratitude to Georgia for organizing the second round of the Eastern Partnership informal dialogue. “It was important to bring six foreign ministers from our partner countries to Tbilisi,” Fule said, adding that “it was important to look at the progress achieved by Georgia.” He confirmed that the EU and Georgia have engaged in an intensive discussion on the Association Agreement, as well as on Georgia's chances to join the free trade area.
The second day of the meetings within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Informal Dialogue took place at the Radisson Blu hotel, where the ministers of partner countries had gathered to attend the ministerial forum.
The Georgian Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development presented three projects related to transportation and infrastructure. According to Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgia strives to join the EU transport area; therefore the transport legislation is gradually approaching EU set standards.
European Commissioner for Transport, Siim Kallas, who also attended the ministerial, welcomed Georgia's aspirations and said that the country should also join the International Civil Aviation Organization. “On behalf of the European Commission, I would like to say that we are satisfied with the cooperation with Georgia. Your country should become a member of the International Civil Aviation Organization because it is very important for your country. It is early to talk about it, but the process is underway and a decision will be made in June,” Siim Kallas said.