The 7th meeting of the EU-Georgia Association Council will take place in Brussels on 6 September.
The meeting will be chaired by the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili. EU High Representative Josep Borrell will lead the EU delegation.
The Association Council will discuss EU-Georgia relations against the background of Georgia’s application for EU membership, with a focus on political dialogue and reforms, economic and sectoral cooperation, trade and trade-related issues, as well as peaceful conflict resolution.
Representatives of the EU and Georgia will also exchange views on foreign and security policy, in particular on regional issues.
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The European Union public procurement market is now open to Georgian companies, following a decision adopted earlier by the EU-Georgia Association Council.
Georgian companies can view a complete and up-to-date list of public tenders announced by the 27 EU Member States on the Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) website. Every day, TED publishes more than 1,000 tenders in various sectors in electronic format. A single search interface allows businesses to find the tender they need based on criteria such as the nature of the contract and keywords.
“This is an achievement and a milestone in EU-Georgia economic relations and an important step towards the full implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between Georgia and the EU,” the EU Delegation to Georgia said in a press release.
The decision also means that companies registered in the European Union have full access to public procurement tenders in Georgia. The central Georgian e-procurement system is open without restrictions to EU companies.
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EU annual report on Georgia: some progress in Association Agreement implementation and the need for further inclusive reformsTuesday, 16 August 2022 14:23
The European Union has published its annual Association Implementation Report on Georgia, which reviews Georgia’s progress in implementing reforms under the EU-Georgia Association Agreement over the past year. The publication comes ahead of the next EU-Georgia Association Council meeting scheduled for 6 September 2022.
“Georgia continued its reform path under difficult circumstances, against the background of its socio-economic recovery from COVID-19, a tense political environment and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said the EU High Representative Josep Borrell. “However, we have seen setbacks in the key areas of rule of law, governance and human rights. As Georgia embarks on the new phase of its relations with the EU, with its European perspective, Georgia needs to take a responsible and conscientious approach that matches its stated objectives and its citizens’ aspirations.”
A report prepared by the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the services of the European Commission shows that the EU-Georgia Association Agreement continues to be a driving force for reform. Overall, the process of aligning national legislation with EU legislation under the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, is well underway and successful. Inclusive and green growth remains central to the EU-Georgia cooperation. In 2021, the EU continued assistance related to COVID-19 and contributed to a strong and sustainable socio-economic recovery, laying the groundwork for the implementation of the Eastern Partnership’s economic and investment plan.
“However, in 2021, challenges threatened to undermine the country’s democratic foundations and there were setbacks with regard to the rule of law. This demonstrates the need for a renewed and serious commitment to democratic consolidation, judicial reforms, and action to reduce political polarisation and to strengthen the rule of law and to guarantee a professional and pluralistic and independent media environment. These are essential priorities for Georgia to advance on its European path,” says a press release by the EEAS.
“The ball is now in Georgia’s court. A serious commitment to democratic consolidation, judicial reforms, strengthening the rule of law as well as fight against corruption and organised crime will be key,” said Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement.
The EU-Georgia Association Agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, was fully actioned on 1 July 2016. It deepens political ties, strengthens economic ties and respects shared values, and is the basis for EU-Georgian cooperation and EU support to reforms in Georgia.
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Irakli Garibashvili: Handover of the EU Accession Questionnaire puts a huge responsibility on us towards intensifying our efforts on the road leading to EU membershipFriday, 15 April 2022 15:15
Measures to be carried out for filling the EU Accession Questionnaire, which was handed over by the European Commission to Georgia on 11TH April 2022, have been discussed at the 62ND Session of the Government Commission on EU Integration of Georgia. It was held and led by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Government Administration today.
The Prime Minister of Georgia highlighted the importance of maximum coordination and active engagement of every institution in making sure that the process of filling is efficient and gets completed in the shortest period of time.
"We filed the EU Membership Application on March 3, thereby advancing to a new stage of EU-Georgia relations. Of course, this decision puts a huge responsibility on our shoulders towards intensifying our efforts on the road of our accession to the European Union. At the meeting today, we discussed the measures to be carried out towards filling the EU Accession Questionnaire handed over by the European Commission to us on April 11. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia personally held a meeting with EU Commissioner Varhelyi in Luxemburg, who actually handed over the EU Accession Questionnaire to him. We gathered today to discuss the measures that need to be carried out by all of us together. Engagement of every stakeholder is essential, along with maximum coordination to make sure that it gets filled in the most efficient manner and returned timely in the form of a complete document" stated the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Ilia Darchiashvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia was the key speaker at the meeting related to the EU Accession Questionnaire today. It was noted that a new stage of EU-Georgia relations started with the handover of the said document. As commonly known, the EU Accession Questionnaire has been handed over to all three countries of the Associated Trio - Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova, and this process is continued in this very format.
The EU Accession Questionnaire will be processed by the Georgian side in a timely manner and returned to the European partners, while the European Commission will release its opinion at the end of June 2022. Efficient and effective filling of the document, which will engage every stakeholder, will be organized in the form of workgroups under the umbrella of personal control by the Prime Minister of Georgia.
Press Service of the Government Administration
On 29-30 March in Tbilisi, the European External Actions Service (EEAS) Managing Director for Common Security and Defence Policy and Crisis Response Mr. Pawel Herczynski and Director General of EU Military Staff Vice-Admiral Hervé Bléjean co-chaired with the Georgian First Deputy Minister of Defence Ms Lela Chikovani the EU-Georgia Consultations on Security and Defence. During the annual consultations and in the context of the military aggression against Ukraine, the sides discussed the regional security situation and ways to further deepen cooperation between the EU and Georgia in the security and defence domain, including tackling hybrid threats, cyber security challenges and fighting disinformation. EEAS delegation also met with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Chairman of Parliamentary Committee for Defence and Security and Chairman of Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Relations.
Irakli Garibashvili: Investment in the volume of 180 MLN USD will significantly facilitate development of the water supply systemThursday, 03 February 2022 17:08
Investment in the volume of 180 MLN USD will significantly facilitate development of the water supply system and qualitative improvement of its management. It was stated by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia at an online meeting with Felix Parra Mediavilla, Executive Director of Aqualia and Irakli Gilauri, Chairman and Chief Executive of Georgia Capital today.
The Head of Government of Georgia expressed his gratitude to investors for their demonstrated trust.
Aqualia, being a world leader with an HQ in Spain, has thus become an official strategic investor and partner of Georgia Global Utilities (GGU) - a daughter company of Georgia Capital. Aqualia invested 180 MLN USD by acquiring 80% of Georgian Water and Power. Georgia Capital continues to own 20% in the utility company.
Online meeting was focused on the close relations between Spain and Georgia. According to Irakli Garibashvili, Georgia is a reliable and stable business partner.
The Prime Minister of Georgia noted that the economy of the country grew by 10.6% in 2021. According to him, Georgia has undergone a significant transformation in the last decade and has been advancing fast to a more liberal and free market economy with one of the lowest tax rates in the world and readily-available access to public services.
Advancing positions of Georgia in leading global ratings, due to ease of doing business and economic freedom, were highlighted at the meeting.
Focus was made on the EU-Georgia Association Agreement (AA), along with a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with China, EFTA nations, Ukraine, Turkey and CIS countries, which let the investors gain exposure to multi-million consumer markets through Georgia. In addition, Irakli Garibashvili noted that the Government of Georgia makes huge investments in land, marine and railroad infrastructure to position the country as a regional hub of trade and logistics.
Press Service of the Government Administration
The fourth high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue took place on 25 November 2021 in Brussels. The meeting reflected the commitment and interest of both the EU and Georgia to take forward their cooperation in the area of foreign and security policy, in line with the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
The participants discussed the conflict dynamics in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, including recent developments on the ground in relation with Russia, and stressed the importance of the implementation of the EU mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement. Both sides once again highlighted the important role of the EU Monitoring Mission for peace and security in Georgia, and underlined the necessity of full implementation of its mandate. The European Union reaffirmed its unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.
They also discussed a number of topical foreign policy issues, including the state of affairs and increasing security challenges in the South Caucasus and the wider region.
The EU expressed appreciation for Georgia's continued and valuable contribution to the EU Common Security and Defence Policy, particularly through Georgia’s participation in EU-led crisis management operations and missions in the Central African Republic and the Republic of Mali. The participants also discussed avenues for increased cooperation in the field of security and defence, including in relation to addressing hybrid threats and increasing Georgia's capacities and resilience. The European Union commended Georgia’s role as a transit hub during the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The dialogue was co-chaired by Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs / Political Director of the European External Action Service Enrique Mora and First Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia Lasha Darsalia. First Deputy Defence Minister of Georgia Lela Chikovani also participated in the meeting.
Deputy Secretary-General Mora said:
"The EU continues to remain strongly engaged in efforts to achieve peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia by using all instruments at its disposal. The EU also values the role of Georgia as an important partner in promoting security both regionally and internationally. The EU has a clear interest in a secure, stable and prosperous Georgia. We want to actively contribute to durable and comprehensive settlements of all conflicts in the region, including where possible through support for confidence-building, stabilisation, and post-conflict rehabilitation measures. The EU stands ready to provide further impetus for regional cooperation and economic development of the South Caucasus, including as appropriate through the opportunities available under the Eastern Partnership."
Deputy Foreign Minister Darsalia said:
“Georgia and the EU share a common goal of promoting security and stability in Europe and beyond. This interest has been manifested in the high-level Strategic Dialogue that Georgia and EU launched in 2017. Today’s meeting is yet another confirmation that EU and Georgia stand together to strengthen our resilience to hybrid threats and counter through joint efforts challenges such as cyber threats or disinformation. We have also had an exchange on new possibilities to upgrade our security cooperation. Georgia has reaffirmed its interest to engage in the EU PESCO projects. Georgia condemns continuous provocations in and around the occupied territories of Georgia. We updated the EU on the work of the Government Commission on the Georgia’s State Strategy for De-occupation and Peaceful Conflict Resolution. We raised the issue of “Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili” List and recalled the landmark judgement of the European Court of Human Rights. Georgia emphasizes the necessity of peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict and, in this regard, underlined the importance of reaching tangible results in the Geneva International Discussions.”
The meetings of the high-level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue are held once a year and cover issues of common interest in the field of foreign and security policy, including the CSDP.
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.
Joint press release following the 6th Association council meeting between the European Union and GeorgiaWednesday, 17 March 2021 10:48
The European Union and Georgia held the 6th meeting of the Association council on 16 March 2021. The Association council took note of the 2021 Association Implementation Report on Georgia and assessed the state of EU-Georgia relations since the last Association council in March 2019.
The Association council welcomed Georgia's progress on its European path, including in the challenging COVID-19 context, and recognised the efforts of the Georgian Government to contain the virus as well as to ensure targeted social assistance to those in need. Both sides acknowledged the crucial importance of the EU rapid assistance to Georgia in the fight against COVID as a vivid sign of solidarity.
Both sides reaffirmed their continued commitment to bringing tangible benefits to the lives of Georgian citizens across key areas of cooperation: economic development and market opportunities; strengthening institutions and good governance; connectivity, energy efficiency, environment and climate change; enhancing mobility and people-to-people contacts.
The Association council noted that the elections of 31 October and 21 November 2020 were competitive and that, overall, fundamental freedoms were respected. The Association council agreed on the importance of addressing all recommendations related to the shortcomings identified by international observers, including OSCE/ODIHR, through ambitious and inclusive electoral reform in order to strengthen the electoral environment and render it more favourable for the democratic conduct of elections.
The Association council strongly regretted the deepening political polarisation in Georgia. The EU called for a swift resolution to the ongoing political situation, for all parties to step up efforts to de-escalate the situation and come together to identify and agree on common ground. The Association council agreed that it was vital for all actors to continue working, in the EU-supported mediation, to find an early resolution to Georgia's political crisis.
The Association council reiterated its call on all political actors to work together and to maintain open dialogue in Georgia, including with civil society, in order to further strengthen democratic institutions, consolidate pluralistic democracy and advance reforms. Both sides stressed the need to continue the successful cooperation between the EU and Georgia on strategic communication and countering disinformation.
The Association council recalled that a great number of Georgian citizens have benefited from short term visa free travel to Schengen countries in recent years. It welcomed the continuous efforts of Georgia to address violations of the visa-free travel requirements, including the latest legislative amendments to the Law of Georgia on ‘Rules for Georgian citizens on Leaving and Entering Georgia' and underlined the importance of its effective implementation. The Association council underlined the critical importance of sustained efforts by Georgia to continue to fulfil the visa liberalisation benchmarks, in particular in order to strengthen and maintain the recent decrease in the number of unfounded asylum applications lodged by Georgian nationals in the Schengen + area. The EU encouraged Georgia to further enhance cooperation with EU Member States to counter irregular migration and organised crime. Both sides welcomed a renewed working arrangement signed between Georgia and Frontex, as well as Georgia's acquisition of observer status in the European Migration Network.
The Association council welcomed progress made in the implementation of Georgia's Human Rights Strategy and its Action Plan, as well as the important work of the Human Rights Protection Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The EU recognised Georgia's efforts in this area and encouraged Georgia to continue efforts to effectively implement the anti-discrimination law and to ensure protection for all persons belonging to minorities, and to ensure gender equality. The Council recalled the commitment to the universality of human rights for all, regardless of religion or belief, race, ethnic origin, sex, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability or other. The Association council welcomed substantial progress made by Georgia to create an effective labour inspection system, in order to further improve working conditions and address the challenges in this area in line with international and European labour standards. It also discussed the importance of continuing efforts in this direction.
Both sides welcomed the progress made by Georgia in the implementation of the Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). The EU continued to be the most important trading partner of Georgia. The EU and Georgia agreed to identify further products with export potential to the EU, for which EU can provide assistance. Both sides welcomed successful implementation of structural reforms and underlined the importance of ongoing reforms related to the improvement of the investment climate in Georgia. The Association council welcomed the ongoing work to draft a new SME Development Strategy 2021-2025 and the EU side confirmed its readiness to support its implementation.
The Association council welcomed the disbursements of Macro-Financial Assistance to Georgia in November 2020 and urged Georgia to continue the implementation of outstanding agreed policy measures in order to enable the disbursement of the second instalment of COVID Macro-Financial Assistance to Georgia (of which 75 million EUR was disbursed in 2020). The EU encouraged Georgia to ensure the sustainability of already implemented reforms and maintain macro-economic stability.
The Association council reiterated Georgia's strategic role in the field of energy, transport and connectivity and increasingly as a transportation and logistics hub in the region. The EU committed to continue engaging closely with Georgia on the connectivity agenda, including through the gradual completion of the indicative core Trans-European networks of Transport (TEN-T), as a step towards enhancing connectivity and international trade between Europe and Asia. The sides also highlighted the importance of Black Sea connectivity. The EU took note of Georgia's request for support in the elaboration and implementation of a plan for better Black Sea connectivity.
The Association council reiterated Georgia's key role as a partner for European energy security and stressed the country's transit role for Caspian hydrocarbon resources to reach European markets, notably via the Southern Gas Corridor and through the Black Sea, with a view to strengthening EU-Georgia interconnections. The EU stressed its continued commitment to further supporting the roll-out of energy efficiency standards in public buildings, based on legislative reforms in key areas. The EU reiterated its continuous support to reinvigorating Georgia's agriculture and rural sector to improve living conditions in rural areas. The Association council noted the importance of enhanced cooperation in the area of civil protection.
The EU recognised Georgia as a key partner in the region and acknowledged the importance of EU-Georgia cooperation in the field of foreign and security policy. The Association council recalled the issues discussed during the third EU-Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue in October 2019 and looked forward to the next meeting in this format. The EU expressed appreciation for Georgia's continued contribution to EU-led crisis management operations and missions in the Central African Republic and the Republic of Mali, as well as openness to supporting the strengthening of Georgia's capacities and resilience.
The EU reiterated its firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders. The EU reiterated its firm commitment to peaceful conflict resolution in Georgia by using all instruments at its disposal including the policy of non-recognition and engagement. The work of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia and of the EU Monitoring Mission demonstrate this strong commitment.
The Association council took note of the judgement of 21 January 2021 of the European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber in the inter-State case concerning the armed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation in August 2008 and its consequences which concluded that after the 12 August 2008 the Russian Federation, "exercising effective control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia", violated several provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights.
The Association council stressed the critical importance of the Geneva International Discussions for addressing and resolving the challenges stemming from the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008. It also reiterated that full and effective Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) are essential for addressing the safety and humanitarian needs of conflict-affected population on the ground. In this regard, the Council welcomed the resumption of Ergneti IPRM meetings and emphasised the crucial importance of resuming the Gali IPRM.
The Council expressed concern about signing a so-called programme on the creation of a common socio-economic space between Russia and Georgian region of Abkhazia as well as other steps further undermining Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, deterioration of the security and human rights situation in the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia, especially with regard to intensified military build-up, installation of barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers along the dividing lines, long-term closure of "crossing points". Concerns also include the situation with ethnic discrimination of Georgians, restriction of freedom of movement, including for health care and access to other social services, arbitrary detentions, violation of property rights and education in mother tongue, the persistent obstacles to the safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees to their places of origin, and deprivation of life of Archil Tatunashvili and Giga Otkhozoria. In this regard, the Association council reiterated that justice should be applied.
The Association council reiterated the obligation for the Russian Federation to fulfil its international obligations including under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, notably to withdraw its military forces from the territory of Georgia and remove all impediments for establishment of international security mechanisms therein. The Association council further urged the Russian Federation to provide EUMM access to the whole territory of Georgia, in line with its mandate. The Association council also called for access for international humanitarian and human rights mechanisms of relevant international organisations.
The Association council stressed the importance of ongoing support to people-to-people contacts and confidence building measures across the divides. In this respect, the Association council recalled its support for the Georgian peace initiative « A Step to a Better Future».
The EU commended Georgia's active participation in the multilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership and underlined that continued reform efforts in the partner countries are key to the success of the Eastern Partnership and to the EaP Summit scheduled for later this year.
The Association council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr Josep Borrell. The Prime Minister of Georgia, Mr. Irakli Garibashvili led the Georgian delegation.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Visa-free regime carries a strong political message of the EU’s trust and support to Georgia – Vakhtang Makharoblishvili
Strasbourg – Speaking before the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee (PAC) in Strasbourg, the Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister, Vakhtang Makharoblishvili said that visa liberalization with the EU is not only a tangible result for our citizens, but mostly a great responsibility for the Georgian Government to ensure the sustained good track record of visa free travel.
According to Makharoblishvili, since the inception of the visa-free travel, more than 1 million visa-free visits have been conducted to the EU/Schengen countries from Georgia, thereby demonstrating that the absolute majority of the population abides by the rules of the visa-free regime.
“We continue to be actively engaged with the EU and Member States on addressing the challenges related to the visa-free regime. the Government of Georgia implemented as an immediate response to the first signs of visa-free misuse, - such as the launch of the 3rd wave of intensive target-oriented information campaign, creation of the Schengen mobile application, introduction of legislative amendments and deployment of police attachés to the Member States” – Makharoblishvili said.
He highlighted that the official recognition of Georgia as a safe country of origin and, most importantly, the reduction of asylum procedures contributed to decrease of the number of asylum seekers. Already 16 EU/Schengen states recognize Georgia as a safe country of origin.
On a final note, the First Deputy Foreign Minister reaffirmed Georgia’s strong commitment to its obligations and responsibilities under the visa liberalization. “We will pursue all the necessary steps to overcome the difficulties and will remain in close cooperation with the EU institutions and Member States on the matter” – he said.