EU-Georgia Association Council says future of Georgia, its citizens “lies within European Union”

The EU also said it acknowledged Georgia had carried out a number of “challenging reforms” and “successfully approximated” its legislation with the EU acquis “in many sectors”. Photo: Government Administration, 07 Sep 2022 - 16:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Union-Georgia Association Council highlighted the “historic importance” of the decision of the European Council to recognise the European perspective to Georgia and underlined the future of Georgia and its citizens “lies within the European Union”, in a joint press statement on Wednesday.

In the statement, which followed a meeting between the Georgian Government and EU leaders as part of the Council, the EU welcomed the start of the work in the Georgian Parliament on the implementation of the EU conditions for granting the membership candidate status to the country, and encouraged the ruling party to engage in an “inclusive process” with participation of representatives from the civil society and parliamentary opposition groups. 

The European Union called on Georgia’s political forces to unite, work together and engage to address these priorities as a matter of priority, underlining that Georgia’s European path is merit-based and the European Union is ready to use all instruments to support it”, the statement said.

The Association Council reiterated its commitment to “further strengthen” EU-Georgia relations, including through fully exploiting the potential of the 2014-signed Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. 

The EU also said it acknowledged Georgia had carried out a number of “challenging reforms” and “successfully approximated” its legislation with the EU acquis “in many sectors”. 

It expressed “important concerns” over the “lack of substantial progress and negative developments in some key areas” in 2021 and encouraged Georgia to “redouble” its efforts to further consolidate democracy and reduce the political polarisation, strengthen the rule of law, the independence, integrity and accountability of the judiciary and the fight against corruption.

The bloc also underlined its “firm support” for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and reaffirmed its “strong commitment” to conflict resolution in Georgia through a comprehensive approach.

EU and Georgia deplored the continued implementation of so-called “treaties” on integration signed between Russia and the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and other illegal activities of Russia in these regions, in violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including the military build-up and installation of barbed wire fences along the administrative boundary line”, the statement noted.

The Association Council reiterated the obligation for Russia to fulfil the EU-mediated August 12, 2008 Ceasefire Agreement and reaffirmed its expectation that Russia should withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory and allow the establishment of international security mechanisms on the ground.

The Council also welcomed Georgia’s “successful recovery” from the economic crisis caused by Covid-19, with the GDP growth at 10.4 percent in 2021 and the continuation of the trend during the first months of 2022.