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Tusk: Georgia Is Frontrunner in Eastern Partnership

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, March 9
The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk believes that Georgia is the leading state among the Eastern partnership countries, adding the EU appreciates the steps taken by the Georgian government to eliminate violations of visa-free regime with the European Union.

“We discussed the EU-Georgia relations, including the Georgian government’s pragmatic proposals for advancing negotiations and cooperation with the EU,” Tusk stated at the joint press-conference with the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who is paying an official visit to Brussels until March 10.

He also added that the EU fully supports Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.

“We are concerned about the continuation of the creeping occupation of Georgia’s two breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Tusk stated, and expressed sadness regarding the recent death of Georgian citizen Archil Tatunashvili and the detention of the two others in breakaway Tskhinvali.

According to Giorgi Margvelashvili, it is concerning that the occupation regime does not allow the body to be transferred to Tbilisi so far.

He also spoke about Russia's provocative and annexed actions in breakaway regions, adding the last tragedy once again confirms the need for an international security and human rights mechanism in the occupied regions.

Margvelashvili highlighted that Georgia supports peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Georgian President also informed Donald Tusk about the events planned and implemented by the Georgian authorities regarding the prevention of violations of visa-free travel with the EU.

He assured that Georgian side reacts to any violation of the visa-free regime rules by Georgian citizens in close cooperation with relevant EU member states. According to Margvelashvili, Legislative and practical measures are planned for the reduction of asylum seekers from Georgia in foreign countries.

“Georgian government has taken extremely active steps to eliminate visa-free regime violations and we are ready for more active and close cooperation with our partners to work on this issue,” the President added.

Within the frames of the visit, Margvelashvili also met with the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, Carlos Moedas in Brussels.

At the meeting, President Margvelashvili emphasized the importance of active cooperation between the Georgian Government and the Commission, especially in the areas of research and innovation.

The progress in the EU-Georgia relations and positive outcomes of the Association Agreement, visa free movement and Georgia’s integration into the Energy Union were also discussed at the meeting.

According to Margvelashvili, Georgia will use all the opportunities to comply with EU standards, norms and practices in the areas of energy, transport and communication, agriculture, environment, culture, science and innovation.

Moreover, Margvelashvili also met with European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, Tibor Navracsics.

The Georgian party emphasized the country’s aspiration to reach the EU standards in education.

Furthermore, Margvelashvili welcomed the establishment of the European school in Tbilisi, which enables the young generations, not only from Georgia, but from the partner countries as well in order to acquire European education in Tbilisi.

He also welcomed the creation of the special fund of 6 million Euros for the Georgian students, who are experiencing financial hardships. The fund enables Georgian students to fully realize their potential through the program.

Georgia-EU agenda and Georgia’s future European perspectives were the key issues discussed by the Chair of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, David McAllister and president of Georgia.

Margvelashvili thanked McAllister for the firm support in the European integration process. He has also briefed McAllister on the measures taken by the Government of Georgia to eliminate violations of the visa-free regime with the EU.

Georgian President will complete his visit to Brussels on March 10.