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6-year anniversary of EU-Georgia Association Agreement

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, June 29
6 years have passed since the negotiating of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and the EU. In November 2012, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuel stated that the AA negotiations could be finalized by November 2013.

A ceremony on the initialing of the AA by the Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton was held at the Eastern Partnership summit on 29 November 2013. It was formally signed on 27 June 2014 and had to be ratified by the EU, Euratom, member states, and Georgia. A second agreement, governing the country's involvement in EU crisis management operations, was also signed.

The Association Agreement, much of which provisionally came into force in September, has been fully ratified by Georgia and all EU member states. On 18 December 2014, the European Parliament approved the Association Agreement. Members backed the treaty by 490 votes in favor to 76 against, with 57 abstentions. The agreement entered into force on 1 July 2016.

The agreement was a very big step towards closer relations between Georgia and the EU and has helped the country to develop rapidly with EU standards.

In celebration of the past 6 years, a statement of Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, was published. In his statement, Ambassador talks about the importance of the agreement, calling it a backbone of the strong and growing relations between Georgia and the EU.

“To me, the Association Agreement is a bit like a cookbook, that we took home 6 years ago and have been cooking together from ever since. Some of the dishes we have cooked up together have been truly tasty such as Visa liberalization or the Erasmus + student exchange program, which is enjoyed by so many people here. Other dishes are more like vegetables, not something you truly look forward to, but in the end, you realize – they are healthy, and they are good for you. So, I very much looking forward to cooking together in the coming year as well,” noted H.E. Ambassador Hartzell.

The Association Agreement, which came into power in 2014, mainly is a guarantee of is a “deep and comprehensive free trade agreement” (DCFTA). It provides for the full liberalization of trade in industrial products and a substantial reduction of barriers in agricultural trade. A significant part of the AA is devoted to the elimination of regulatory barriers to trade (e.g. technical standards). The Agreement provides for progressive and partial liberalization of trade in services as well as for fast and deep elimination of barriers to capital flows.