First EU-Georgia Association Council Sets the Tune for Stepping up Cooperation

The EU and Georgia have acknowledged Georgia’s European aspirations and its European choice. The two sides met on Monday in the first EU-Georgia Association Council, which is the highest standing body of the Association Agreement (AA) to supervise its implementation.

The Council described Georgia as one of the front-runners of the Eastern Partnership, a press release said, adding the EU and Georgia “agreed to continue to work together towards a further deepening of Georgia’s political association and economic integration with the EU.”

The Association Council welcomed the provisional application of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement/DCFTA that “will be the basis on which Georgia proceeds with its reform agenda in the years to come.”

The EU underlined the need “to improve the political climate by avoiding political retribution and polarisation while ensuring the space for opposition and cross party dialogue in the interest of political pluralism and inclusiveness.”

Both sides welcomed the assessment by the Council of the EU and the European Commission of Georgia’s progress under the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP), which concluded that Georgia had met the first-phase requirements of the visa dialogue and therefore could move to the next round of VLAP.

The Association Council welcomed the EU’s assistance to Georgia, which has significantly increased in the period 2014-2017, with up to €410 million available to support the ambitious political, judicial and economic reforms envisaged in the Association Agreement and the Association Agenda.

The EU reiterated its firm support for the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders. The Association Council expressed concern over a so-called “Draft Treaty on Alliance and Integration” currently being discussed between Russia and the Abkhaz de-facto authorities, as well as over reports on similar talks with the South Ossetian de-facto authorities.

The EU reiterated its commitment to peace, stability and conflict resolution efforts in Georgia, including through the co-chairmanship of the Geneva International Discussions by the EU Special Representative and the deployment of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia.

The EU welcomed Georgia’s active participation in the multilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership and its initiative to host the Civil Society Forum in Batumi on November 20-21, 2014.

In a separate statement, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini said the EU-Georgia Association Agreement “has raised our relationship to a new level.”

“The partnership between the European Union and Georgia is a strong one, and it will become even stronger in the coming years as we implement the agreement for the benefit of Georgia and the EU,” Mogherini added.

The Association Council was chaired by the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. The Georgian Delegation was headed by Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, also participated.

Source: enpi-info.eu

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