Main reason for delay in granting visa-free regime for Georgia and Ukraine is the lack of agreement-Donald Tusk
The governing institutions of the European Union and the Member States bear a serious political responsibility and should not lose the trust of Ukraine and Georgia regarding the speedy granting of visa-free regime to these countries.
This is stated in a letter of European Council President Donald Tusk to President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, available to an Ukrinform correspondent in Brussels.
"We have made demands on our partners, who have paid a heavy price in carrying out painful reforms and even have been subjected to great political risk. They accepted these challenges, with a strong belief that the EU will be able to fulfill its own promises. Therefore, I want to reiterate that we may lose not only the social, political and economic interests, and not only the future of our relations with our neighbors, but, also and especially, trust," Tusk commented on the inadmissibility of delay in EU’s decision-making process regarding granting Ukraine and Georgia visa-free regime.
In his letter, the President of the European Council noted that the main reason for delay in granting visa-free regime for these two countries is the lack of agreement between the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
The Foreign Ministers of the Associated Trio have met with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy
The Foreign Minister of the Associated Trio – Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine met with the Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for an Economy, Valdis Dombrovskis.
During the meeting the parties discussed the significance of the establishment of the Associated Trio and its future goals, namely in terms of European Integration and coordinating in terms of common goals, by developing cooperation with the EU, including in terms of establishing sectoral dialogue on economic and trade issues.
Georgian Prime Minister’s meeting with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda
Today, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili held a meeting with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda.
The meeting at the Administration of the Georgian Government focused on the relations between the two countries based on shared values and principles, emphasizing the tremendous dynamism of bilateral interaction. Lithuania is one of Georgia's most active supporters, the parties pointed out.
The conversation revolved around successful and productive cooperation with Lithuania's delegations under various international organizations. The Head of Government thanked the Lithuanian President for ongoing support and the initiation of resolutions concerning Georgia.
The meeting also focused on the importance of deepening the economic cooperation between Georgia and Lithuania, especially in the post-pandemic period, to boost economic growth and people-to-people contacts. In discussing the challenges posed by COVID-19, the parties underlined the importance of access to vaccines. The Prime Minister thanked the President of Lithuania for the decision to donate 15,000 vaccine doses to Georgia.
Lithuania's unequivocal support for Georgia's path toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration was emphasized, and key directions of further joint activities and coordination were outlined. Georgia is preparing to apply for full EU membership in 2024, the Head of Government said and stressed the importance of political and economic reforms to that end. The parties discussed the upcoming NATO Summit, with the issue of Georgia included on its agenda, and expressed hope that the summit's declaration will reflect Georgia's significant progress on the path to Euro-Atlantic integration.
The meeting also paid special attention to the situation in Georgia's occupied territories and problems plaguing the populations along the occupation lines. The President of Lithuania familiarized himself with said concerns during his visit to the village of Khurvaleti. Gitanas Nausėda reassured Irakli Garibashvili of his firm support for Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The meeting was attended by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Lithuania to Georgia Andrius Kalindra, Chief Adviser to the Cabinet of the President Ieva Ulčickaitė, President's Foreign Adviser Skirmantė Straigienė, and President's Chief Adviser for Communications Raminta Stanaitytė-Česnulienė, while the Georgian side was represented by Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani and Georgia's by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Republic of Lithuania Levan Ghvachliani.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have established the "Associated Trio"Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have established the "Associated Trio". David Zalkaliani, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, publishes information about this on his Facebook page. "The common goal of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine is to unite and become a full member of the European Union /EU/," - the minister said.The appropriate memorandum was signed in Kiev during a meeting of foreign ministers of said three states.The final goal of the Associated Trio is accession into the EU.
The Ukrainian PM, Denys Shmyhal, to visit GeorgiaThe Ukrainian PM, Denys Shmyhal, to visit Georgia, stated the Ukrainian PM during a meeting with the Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, David Zalkaliani, where he reconfirmed the strategic partnership between Georgia and Ukraine, along with the joint efforts exerted in terms of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.The Georgian Vice PM reconfirmed concern of the Georgian side regarding the escalation of processes along Ukraine’s border and in Crimea, reconfirming support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.The parties welcomed the signing of the memorandum between the three associated states concerning issues of European integration, expressing readiness to support the convergence of economies and sectoral integration between said states.During the meeting the parties also discussed prospects of more active and deeper cooperation in various fields, noting with satisfaction, that Ukraine remains among the top trading partners for Georgia. The positive practices of the management of the intergovernmental economic commission was were also discussed.The parties also underscored the necessity of tight cooperation between Georgia and Ukraine, in order to maximise benefits from the existing opportunities with the EU including in terms of the DCFTA.The positive dynamics in terms of cooperation in the tourism industry was also noted as satisfactory. The immense potential in the transport sector was also discussed outlining the potential of the Black Sea and necessity for further active cooperation.During the meeting the parties also touched upon the process of Euro-Atlantic integration, with both parties welcoming the efforts exerted on behalf of Tbilisi and Kiev in order to receive appropriate recognition during the upcoming NATO summit. The Ukrainian PM noted with satisfaction over the existing high levels of communication and cooperation with his Georgian colleague, Irakli Gharibashvili.The importance of joint communication with the EU on behalf of the “Eastern Partnership Initiative” member-states over the issue of egalitarian distribution of vaccines was also underscored during the meeting by both parties.
Georgia: Leading MEPs react to the refusal of the political parties to reach an agreement
In a joint statement, MEPs deplore that Georgia’s political leaders did not agree to EU mediator Christian Danielsson’s proposal and announce consequences in terms of EU-Georgia relations.
Following a meeting on 1 April with Christian Danielsson, personal envoy of European Council President Charles Michel for the EU-mediated political dialogue in Georgia, leading MEPs issued the following joint statement:
“We are deeply disappointed with the political leaders in Georgia for their inability to reach an agreement last Tuesday despite the best efforts deployed by the European Union to help put an end to the current political crisis. Both the ruling and the main opposition parties taking part in the discussions are to be blamed for this outcome and a special responsibility lies with the party in government.
We reiterate our strong support to Christian Danielsson’s tireless work and welcome the publication of the proposal he made to the political parties, which further increased the transparency of the mediation process. It is essential to rebuild confidence between political party actors. The content of this proposal is indeed the right way ahead for Georgia: ambitious electoral and judicial reforms, meaningful sharing of responsibilities in the Georgian Parliament and, most importantly, a solution on future elections and on two cases of politicised justice. This solution is politically balanced and respects both the rule of law and the international assessment of the 2020 elections. We also welcome the idea of a Jean-Monnet Dialogue process supported by the European Parliament, when the political situation allows.
Following the refusal from the political parties to compromise, Georgia’s leaders should not expect a return to business as usual from the European Union. The European Parliament in particular will call for consequences in terms of EU financial assistance, including both a suspension of further disbursements of and an increase in conditionality linked to EU Macro Financial Assistance and budget support programmes.
In the meantime, the adoption of ongoing electoral and judicial reforms in the Georgian Parliament requires broad political support and the need to fully implement the recommendations of OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. These reforms are key to rebuild trust. We call on the ruling party to ensure a genuinely inclusive process to avoid the further undermining of both future elections and the judiciary, as well as unnecessarily closing the door to a possible agreement in the future.
We call on Georgia’s leaders to take action immediately. The future of EU-Georgia relations is at stake.”
The increasing frictions between political parties in Georgia following the November 2020 parliamentary elections and the arrest of the opposition leader in mid-February have sparked a major political crisis in Georgia. The EU is actively engaged to help overcome the tensions among Georgia's political parties. Christian Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel's personal envoy, conducted in Tbilisi two rounds of mediation among the parties and presented a proposal for a way ahead for Georgia. The European Parliament strongly supports his efforts.
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany), lead member of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group for Georgia;
Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia;
Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine;
Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe, Lithuania), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Belarus.