EU report: Georgia making headway in implementation of Association Agenda

The European Commission positively assesses Georgia's implementation of its EU association agenda. Photo by the Georgian PM's press office., 29 Nov 2016 - 16:41, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia is making headway in the implementing of its Association Agenda, with a number of reforms, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, as well as efforts to develop the economy, are already being implemented says the European Commission.

Today the European External Action Service and the European Commission released a joint report assessing how Georgia was implementing its European Union (EU) Association Agenda.

The document focused on key developments and reforms, undertaken in line with the strategic priorities agreed between the EU and Georgia.

The report said Georgia had implemented a number of reforms, taken action to strengthen democracy and the rule of law, as well as other key areas in the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, which fully entered into force on July 1, 2016.

EU high officials praise the way Georgia implements its deals with EU

"The European Union and Georgia already have a strong relationship/ We are like-minded partners, we share values and common commitments to our populations and on the international scene alike,” said EU High Representative and European Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini in the European Commission’s press release that accompanied the report.

It's been only five months since our Association Agreement fully entered into force last July, and today's report recognises the sustained work of the Georgian authorities,” Mogherini said.

She added that despite the vast progress, some important legislation needed to be passed and additional measures taken.

Implementing reforms is not always easy and requires determination and leadership but it is bringing countless new opportunities to our peoples,” she said.

EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, said in the report "we are already seeing the first results of the implementation of the Association Agreement”.

He stressed Georgian exports to the EU had increased and was on an upward trend and additional opportunities had been created for people, for example students and scientists through Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 programs.

The implementation of the Association Agenda needs to be continued, in particular in reforming the judiciary including of the prosecution service. We will continue supporting [Georgian] authorities in their efforts to bring our populations still closer,” he said.

EU report: EU-Georgia cooperation have become ever closer

The joint report said Georgia's democratic institutions had been consolidated and a comprehensive legislative framework for human rights and anti-discrimination had been adopted.

It stressed the legal framework guaranteed freedom of the press; now the media landscape was dynamic and pluralistic, even if polarised, and this was a huge step forward on previous years.

In the section dedicated to economic development, the report underlined the benefits brought to the EU and Georgia since the start of the provisional application of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) in September 2014.

The EU now accounts for a quarter of Georgia's overall trade whilst the DCFTA has led to the removal of customs tariffs and quotas and has also underpinned the process of bringing Georgia's trade-related regulations closer to the standards of the EU,” the document said.

The report also noted that Georgia had successfully met all benchmarks in its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan, as evidenced by the European Commission's proposal to the Council and Parliament of Europe to lift visa obligations for Georgian citizens in March 2016. The EU-Georgia Visa Liberalisation Dialogue proved to be an important and particularly effective tool for advancing far-reaching reforms.

The joint report reconfirmed the EU continued to fully support Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. It noted the EU actively supported conflict resolution efforts through the work of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the EU Monitoring Mission.