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EU Ambassador Says Environment Protection Is Crucial for Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, December 12
(TBILISI)-- The European Union’s Ambassador to Georgia, Janos Herman, called on the country to develop and implement robust environmental protection measures to help protect Georgia’s natural reserves.

“We should work together to change the existing approach and focus more on the protection of the environment,” Ambassador Herman stated at a conference on Georgia-EU Association Tasks on December 11.

Herman also spoke about the importance of implementing the Association Agreement and the difficulties faced by Georgia on this path.

"The Association Agreement has been in force for more than a year. This is a very complex document that implies serious transformation in terms of moving closer to the EU,” he stated.

EU Ambassador stressed that the EU is ready to help Georgia overcome any difficulties in the implementation of the agreement, but its ultimate success depends on the country itself.

“It is very difficult to implement the necessary reforms, because it requires a change in the national mentality and very serious political decisions from the (country’s) leaders,” said Herman.

In June 2014, the EU and Georgia signed an Association Agreement that officially entered into force on July 1, 2016.

By signing the agreement, Georgia is obliged to consolidate the rule of law, pursue legislative reforms, strengthen respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms and reinforce democratic institutions.

The agreement is designed to gradually introduce European standards in all aspects of Georgian life.

As a result of the structural changes, initiated by the government in early November, the number of ministries was reduced from 18 to 14, including the closure of the Environment Ministry.

Opposition leaders and environmentalists believe the government made a critical mistake by abolishing the Ministry.