PM Kvirikashvili: New chapter of Georgia-EU relations

Georgia’s Prime Minister summarised his Brussels visit at today’s Governmental meeting. Photo by the Prime Minister’s webpage., 02 Jul 2016 - 11:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

July 1 marked the day when the Association Agreement (AA) between Georgia and the European Union (EU) took full effect.

Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said this milestone officially opened a new chapter of EU-Georgia relations, with increased trade and deeper cooperation and dialogue on a wide range of policy issues.

"Today is a particularly symbolic day for Georgia as it marks the official entry into force of our Association Agreement with the European Union. This step is much more than just a formality; it is the result and reward of years of ambitious reforms which have overhauled judicial and electoral procedures, and brought significant improvements to our citizens’ rights and living conditions,” he said.

It cements Georgia’s relations with a partner which, for years, has been our model and end destination. Importantly it marks the opening of a new chapter of Georgia-EU relations, which will touch areas as wide as environmental protection, transport, education, and energy.”

The provisional application of the AA since September 2014 had already driven Georgian exports to the EU up 16 percent in 2015 and brought new products such as fruit, nuts and wine to EU markets.

"Georgian citizens will increasingly be able to reap the benefits of closer association with the EU as a result of our Association Agreement,” EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said.

Better business opportunities for Georgian small and medium-sized enterprises […] and enhanced energy efficiency: these are just a few areas where we already saw promising signs.”

Looking to the next step on Georgia’s path towards closer integration with the EU - visa liberalisation - Prime Minister Kvirikashvili said "abolishing visa requirements for short-term visits for Georgian citizens in the near future is a crucial milestone in terms of EU approximation”.

The AA foresaw cooperation and approximation in areas such as security policy, trade, economic growth, and governance.

Following important reforms implemented by the Government since 2013, the country increasingly aligns with international standards of democracy and rule of law,” the Georgian Government Administration said.

Georgia and the EU were currently setting out short to medium-term priority reform areas with the association agenda for 2017-2020.