Georgia: European Neighbourhood Policy Country Progress Report 2014

Brussels, 25 March 2015

The 2015 ENP package “Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy in 2014” consists of a joint Communication and a set of country specific and regional reports. The report on Georgia underlines key developments and reform efforts in 2014 and makes recommendations for the year to come.

Georgia and the EU signed the Association Agreement including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (AA/DCFTA) on 27 June 2014. The Agreement has been provisionally applied since 1 September 2014. The implementation of the AA/DCFTA is guided by the Association Agenda, a set of priorities jointly agreed in June 2014. Political dialogue further intensified in 2014. Georgia and the EU continued successfully the visa liberalisation dialogue and the implementation of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements. As a result, the second implementation phase of the Visa Liberalisation Process was launched in October 2014.

Georgia continued the democratic transition of the country including with regard to human rights and fundamental freedoms: Local elections in June and July 2014 were generally in compliance with international standards, even though freedom of association and assembly were not fully ensured during the campaign. Georgia also initiated a constitutional reform. Electoral reforms in light of the parliamentary elections of 2016 have not yet been initiated.

In the justice sector, Georgia launched a reform of the Prosecutor’s Office and made efforts to improve the independence of judges. Judicial independence remained fragile.

Georgia’s prison system, the protection of children’s rights and media freedom improved. An anti-discrimination law was adopted but the rights of minorities remained to be improved further.

The signature of a “treaty” between the Russian Federation and the breakaway territory of Abkhazia were severely criticised by the Georgian Government as violating Georgia’s territorial integrity. This assessment was shared by the EU, as expressed in statements and in the EU’s bilateral contacts with the Russian Federation. A similar ‘treaty’ was signed with the breakaway region of South Ossetia only last week.

On the basis of the Country Progress Report, several actions are recommended to Georgia in the coming year, amongst others:

– ensuring separation of powers and checks and balances between executive, legislative and the judicial powers in the framework of constitutional reform; improving the political climate, amongst others, by ensuring space for opposition and cross-party dialogue;

– reforming the justice system to ensure full independence of the judiciary;

– increasing the accountability and democratic oversight of law enforcement agencies;

– participating constructively in the Geneva International Discussions; enhancing Georgia’s engagement policy towards the breakaway regions and take pragmatic steps to further open channels of communication and to encourage trade, education, travel and investment across the administrative boundary line;

– continuing close cooperation with the EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia and the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM);

– continuing sectorial reforms and ensuring a high standard of approximation to the EU acquis in order to successfully implement the AA/DCFTA; raising public awareness and visibility of the AA/DCFTA and merits of political association and economic integration with the EU.

Source: europa.eu

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