The Association Council positively assessed the progress made in EU-Georgia relations at the second meeting of the Association Council held in Brussels on November 16.
Association Council assesses Georgia as one of front-runners of the Eastern Partnership
By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, November 18
“The Association Council continues its commitment to Georgia's political association and economic integration with the EU and acknowledged Georgia's European aspirations, its European choice and the common objective to promote the growth of a democratic, stable and prosperous country,” reads the official press-release, published on the website of the European Council after the Georgia-EU Association Council session.
The council is a joint body at ministerial level gathering at least once a year to address issues related to the implementation of the Association Agreement, signed between the EU and Georgia in June 2014.
The session was chaired by the European Commission Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, and the Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Commissioner Johannes Hahn, with the Prime Minister of Georgia-Irakli Garibashvili representing Georgia.
The Association Council welcomed the readiness of Georgia to sustain the positive results of the reforms in accordance with the common values set out in the Association Agreement: democracy, good governance, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. In this context, the Association Council assessed Georgia as one of the front-runners of the Eastern Partnership.
“The European Commission will present its decision about a visa liberalization plan on December 15, but I would like to say there is a basis for positive expectations,” Federica Mogherini stated.
She said that Georgia has successfully attained most of goals of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP) but noted that there is much to do in the future.
According to Johannes Hahn, he will visit Georgia soon within the framework of an informal dialogue of the Eastern Partnership and will see the results Georgia has achieved on its Euro-integration path.
“We recognize all the aspirations and achievements of Georgia made in its legislation, which are now close to European standards,” he said.
The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, underlined that Georgia has made many important achievements in the areas of the “consolidation of democracy, the strengthening of the independence of judiciary and the rule of law, eradicating corruption and the protection of human rights”.
Garibashvili stated that he greatly appreciates the EU’s support and assistance.
“The Georgian government does its best to achieve the goals set by the VLAP. We hope that our achievements will be recognized and reflected in a positive assessment of the EU, resulting in visa-free travel in Europe for citizens of Georgia. This decision will be a true demonstration of the fact that our European choice brings concrete results, "said the Prime Minister.
At the meeting the sides also mentioned a document to be discussed on November 18, which includes the EU's new approach to its neighborhood policy and the importance of differentiation for highly ambitious countries like Georgia. They expressed the hope that the efforts will be appropriately assessed, along with the Eastern Partnership program.