European Parliament will vote to ratify Georgia-EU deal

Georgia and EU to cancel all custom tariffs on products result from Georgia-EU free trade. Photo by PM’s Press Office, 18 Nov 2014 - 12:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Parliament will vote on whether it will ratify the European Union (EU)-Georgia Association Agreement (AA) deal next month.

This was announced after yesterday’s meeting and vote where the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee said the European Parliament should grant its consent to the EU-Georgia deal in December.

The Georgia-EU AA must be ratified by the national parliaments of all EU member states too before it can come into force.

The important trade deal, signed on June 27, 2014, aimed to establish deep political association and economic integration between the EU and Georgia, leading to the progressive opening up of their markets. It included a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

With 48 votes to one and three abstentions, the Committee recommended the European Parliament, as a whole, give the green light to the deal in its next vote in Strasburg in December.

In an accompanying draft resolution backed by 49 votes to three with four abstentions, the Committee welcomed recent judicial reforms designed to strengthen Georgia’s democratic institutions. The text also underlined that all three branches of power must be effectively separated and all prosecutions be transparent, proportionate and free from political motivation.

The resolution text urged all political forces in the country to avoid instrumentalising the justice system and make accusations of "selective justice” in the future, while keeping up to the fight against corruption and misuse of public office.

The Committee also said the AA must apply to and benefit the entire internationally recognised territory of Georgia. They also called on the EU to be more active in resolving conflicts and in ensuring that the Geneva Talks, tasked with monitoring the execution of the August 2008 ceasefire agreement, deliver results.

The Committee condemned so-called "borderization”, such as the expansion of the occupied territories to the detriment of Georgia, and other acts that hindered confidence-building.

Meanwhile members of the European Parliament (MEPs) supported Georgia’s steps to improve its relations with Russia and called on Russia to engage constructively in resolving conflicts peacefully.

"Russia should also fully respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and reverse its recognition of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and put an end to their occupation,” MEPs said.