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EU-Georgia Association Agreement made public

By Ana Robakidze
Thursday, December 5
The text of the Association Agreement initialed between the European Union and Georgia has been made public. The full document was published by the EU on the organization’s official web-page.

The preamble says that the document was created “considering the strong links and common values of the Parties, established in the past through the Partnership and acknowledging “the European aspirations and European choice of Georgia.”

Establishing an association between the Union and its Member States, the agreement gives a full list of the aims the parties have agreed on. The agreement aims to promote political association and economic integration between the Parties; to provide a strengthened framework for enhanced political dialogue and develop close political relations between the Parties; help to strengthen democracy, political, economic and institutional stability in Georgia, as well as to promote peace, stability and border security. The parties shall also promote Georgia's gradual economic integration into the EU Internal Market through establishing a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.

The main body of the document is divided into several parts, each one listing the main goals the parties will have to achieve in the following fields of mutual interest: foreign and security policy, justice, freedom and security (including rule of law and respect for human rights), trade and economic related issues, financial assistance and anti-fraud control.

The Association Agreement also establishes an Association Council, a body to supervise and monitor the application and implementation of the agreement provisions and “shall examine any major issues arising” within the framework of the agreement. The council shall consist of members of the Council of the European Union, European Commission and members of the Georgian government.

According to Article 401of the agreement:

“The Association Council shall meet at ministerial level and at regular intervals, at least once a year, and when circumstances require. The Association Council may meet in any configuration, by mutual agreement.”

The agreement also establishes an Association Committee as an assistant body for the Council. The parties also take responsibility to promote “regular meetings of representatives of their civil societies, in order to keep them informed of, and gather their input for, the implementation of this Agreement.”

The Georgian government openly speaks about the ambitious plan to actually sign the association agreement in September 2014. At the government’s strategic Conference on Human Rights in relation to future plans, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili addressed the participants and congratulated the Georgian people on their great success on the path to Europe.

“I would like to congratulate Georgia and our people on great progress on the path to Europe, as the Association Agreement has been initialed. This is a historic step for our country. Today we have a new reality in Georgia. The European Union and our partner countries have contributed tremendously to this new reality,” the PM said. He thanked the EU for its assistance and support and promised that despite a very difficult legacy the new government has inherited, the authorities feel their responsibility before the Georgina people and will do everything possible to meet EU standards and advance on the way to European integration.

“Success on this path requires a lot of work. I would like to assure you of our team’s political will to fulfill this task. Our task is to build an European state, which mainly implies the introduction of a quality democracy and due respect for human rights… We must continue the difficult process of building democratic institutions. We must implement reforms, and for the reason of these reforms, ensuring that the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the media and non-interference with their editorial policies, fair elections, dignified living conditions of our citizens,” Gharibashvili said. He hopes that the reforms planned for the year 2014 will be successful enough to ensure Georgia advancing to the next level in the relations with the EU.