EU-Georgia Association Agreement fully comes into force on July 1

Celebration of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement in Brussels, Belgium on June 17, 2014. Photo by the Georgian PM's press office., 24 May 2016 - 11:54, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia will fully enjoy the benefits of its Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU) from July 1.

Last night the EU Foreign Affairs Council announced its decision to end the procedures needed for ratification of the EU-Georgia AA deal. The Council said the Agreement would come into force on the first day of July 2016.

"After signing the AA, this is another important date in the history of EU-Georgia relations,” said Georgia’s Foreign Ministry in a statement following the Council’s decision.

The Ministry said this decision would open a new chapter in Georgia’s relations with the EU and its member states.

The Georgian side believed the AA would become the new, main judicial framework that defined high-level cooperation between Georgia and the EU.

"The process of Georgia’s political association and economic integration, which includes implementation of European political, trade-economic, social and judicial standards, will speed up and will be irreversible,” said Georgia’s Foreign Ministry.

Georgia started negotiating with the EU on its AA deal in July 2010, while negotiations on the economic part of the agreement – the DCFTA – started in December 2011.

During the negotiation process, 14 plenary sessions were held on the political section of the AA, six rounds of talks were held regarding the DCFTA and around 100 video conferences were held.

Negotiations ended in July 2013 and the AA deal was initiated in November 2013 at the Vilnius Summit and signed on June 27, 2014 in Brussels.

All essential elements of the AA partially came into force from September 1, 2014. Before the document could be fully implemented, the national parliaments of all 28 EU member countries needed to ratify the agreement.

In December 2015 Belgium was the last – the 28th – EU member state to ratify Georgia’s AA deal.