The EU reaffirms its support for Georgia
By Ana Robakidze
WEdnesday, November 27
The European Union once again reaffirmed its permanent support to Georgia and Moldova, as long as the two countries remain loyal to EU values. Commissioner for the Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule stated in a video conference with Georgian and Moldovan journalists on November 25th that the EU will back the two countries in carrying out reforms that are necessary for the integration process.
“If Georgia remains loyal to the values that are important to the EU and will establish rule of law, will not allow selective justice and will establish free media in the country, it will be closer to the EU. The closer Georgia is to the EU, the better we will be able to protect it.” Fule stated. He also announced that signing the association agreement with Georgia is planned for late September 2014.
Georgia has made intense preparations for the Vilnius Summit to make the event as fruitful as possible. Related issues have been discussed at every level of international meetings involving Georgian officials.
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili met with Nicole Bricq, the Minister for Foreign Trade of France, and discussed enhancement of economic and international relations between Georgia and France. The French minister told Margvelashvili her country fully supports Georgia’s European aspirations.
“I am confident that the initialing of the agreement will dramatically improve trade relations between our countries…France is prepared to support Georgian on its European path, which will last a year – from initializing the EU associate membership agreement until the signing. We are enhancing our economic relationship with Georgia and the interest that French companies have in Georgia proves this.” Bricq said.
Commenting on Ukraine’s decision to delay its integration process with the EU, Fule stated that signing the EUAssociation Agreement with Ukraine is still on the agenda. He also added that the EU builds relationship with its Eastern Partners in various ways. Fule explained that the countries are totally different and EU policy cannot be replicated for all of them in the same way.
“The EU is still ready to sign an association agreement with Ukraine. This issue is up to Ukraine to decide now. We have clearly declared that the EU will continue to have dialogue with Russia in order to explain the benefits of EU association status for our Eastern Partnership countries.” Fule stated.
According to Ukrainian officials the country is not rejecting a European future but has rather made a tactical move to keep the Russian market open and avoid an economic crisis.
“Ukraine is not refusing to sign the association agreement with the EU. The process is temporarily suspended.” Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Leonid Kozhara stated this week. He claims neither his country nor the EU is ready to sign the agreement at this stage. However, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich is still planning to attend the Vilnius Summit on November 28th-29th.
The Georgian parliament is going to issue a document that expresses its official position on Ukraine’s decision. The parliamentary majority and the opposition presented two separate drafts of the document.
In its version, the Georgian Dream majority expresses its hope that Ukraine will manage to achieve full Euro-Atlantic integration in a short period of time. The opposition’s draft condemns Russia’s aggression and the pressure that it has imposed on Ukraine in order to delay its integration process with the EU. Parliament has still to decide on the wording of the final version of the statement.