First EU-Georgia Association Council session held

PM Garibashvili assessed first EU-Georgia Association Council as historical. Photo by PM's press office., 18 Nov 2014 - 02:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

The first ever EU-Georgia Association Council meeting has been held in Brussels.

The Council is the highest formal institution established under the EU-Georgia Association Agreement to supervise the implementation of the agreement.

The best explanation of its functions was published on Twitter by the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EU's Foreign and Security Policy Service.

The Council was chaired by the EU High Representative (HR) for the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the Georgian delegation was led by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy also participated in the meeting.

Today the sides agreed on the rules of the Council’s functioning and also defined the set of priorities of the AA's implementation process, said Mogherini afterwards at a joint press conference with Garibashvili and Hahn.

Mogherini praised the progress of Georgia in the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan, successful Parliamentary and Presidential elections, adoption of the National strategy on Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination legislation, as well as the establishment of the Human Rights Council. She underlined the need to continue judicial reforms and to "assure the rule of law”.

"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,” said Mogherini following the meeting.

Garibashvili, Mogherini and Hahn at the joint press conference. Photo by PM's press office.

Georgia's Prime Minister confirmed the readiness of his Government to continue implementing the AA agenda and emphasized Georgia will move much further ahead in this field by next year's Riga Summit.

"The Association Agreement in not the final goal in our cooperation. I have an ambition to make my country a success story in the region," Garibashvili said.

AA is the essential base to build a truly European, stable and functional pluralist democracy with effective checks, balancing and strong democratic institution.”

Hahn, who was also the EU Regional Policy Commissioner, said: "Georgia continues to be at the forefront of the Eastern Partnership”.

"I am pleased to say that the implementation of the DCFTA so far is going smoothly. I equally welcome Georgia’s accomplishments in the visa liberalisation dialogue and have high hopes that reforms continue in a practical implementation of the agreed benchmarks,” he said.

Later he assessed the meeting on his Twitter account.

The EU High Representative also shared the EU's concerns regarding the latest developments in Georgia’s breakaway regions and reconfirmed the EU's support for Georgia's territorial integrity.

"We discussed the most recent developments in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including new moves by the de-facto authorities to restrict freedom of movement across the Administrative Boundary Line."

"Another point of mutual concern is the far-reaching treaty being discussed between the Russian Federation and the Abkhaz de-facto authorities. Reports on a similar undertaking with the South Ossetian de-facto authorities are equally disconcerting,” stressed Mogherini.

Earlier today the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted the EU's position within the Association Councils with Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. This position concerned the adoption of the Rules of Procedure of the Association Councils, of the Association Committees and of Sub-Committees, the establishment of two Sub-Committees and the delegation of certain powers by the Association Councils to the Association Committees in trade configuration.

See the full video of the joint press conference following the first ever EU-Georgia Association Council.