Georgian PM Gakharia and European Commissioner Varhelyi Sign Financing Agreements Worth 129 Million EUR for COVID RecoveryWednesday, 30 September 2020 11:03
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia held a meeting with European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi in Brussels.
The meeting focused on the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of the assistance provided by the European Union to Georgia was stressed.
The head of the Government of Georgia and European Commissioner Varhelyi signed two financing agreements with a total budget of 129 million EUR, which aim to improve the socioeconomic situation in Georgia as a result of the spread of the coronavirus. Giorgi Gakharia stated that the signing of the COVID-19 Resilience Contract and the Integrated Territorial Development documents within the framework of the visit is yet another confirmation of the special partnership between Tbilisi and Brussels.
The European commissioner emphasized the strengthening of transport and communication links, economic recovery, and development. The Prime Minister paid special attention to the importance of developing physical transport and communication links with the European Union in political and economic, as well as security directions, noting that the majority of the population of Georgia supports Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Georgia's important role in the wider Black Sea Region was also stressed.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister spoke about Georgia's reforms and democratic development in accordance with European standards, in terms of which the country is a regional leader. Giorgi Gakharia underscored the recently implemented electoral reform, as a result of which the country has moved to a new stage of democratic development.
The parties discussed the difficult situation and instances of violation of human rights in the occupied territories of Georgia.
While discussing the occupation, the Prime Minister noted that 20 percent of not just the country's territories, but also its development and opportunities are under occupation. Giorgi Gakharia thanked the European Union for its strong support for the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The discussion also touched on the importance of implementing new initiatives within the framework of the Eastern Partnership and focusing more on bilateral relations with the associated partners. It was noted that Georgia is a leader country in the Eastern Partnership.
The Prime Minister also underscored the progress made by the state in terms of the reform of civil service, stating that a politically neutral civil service has been established in the country and that corresponding steps have been taken at the legislative level as well, which is one of the key components of good governance.
The meeting, which was held at the European Commission, was attended by Georgian Foreign Affairs Minister Davit Zalkaliani, Head of Georgian Mission to the European Union and Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of Belgium and Luxembourg Nata Sabanadze, and Head of Government Administration Natia Mezvrishvili.
Press Center of the Government of Georgia
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili hosted Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn at the business lunch. The conversation touched upon Georgia's European integration agenda and the progress reached in this regard was outlined prior to the meeting. Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Johannes Hahn tasted Georgian wines and discussed ancient winemaking culture of Georgia. The business lunch took place within the frames of 13th International Conference "Georgia's European Way" in Batumi.
This is the result of endeavors and labor of our executive and legislative authorities; this is the result of the support of our citizens, - Prime Minister declared while commenting the initiative of European Commission regarding introduction of visa free regime for citizens of Georgia.
The Prime Minister thanked the European Commission, country's friends and partners for support and fruitful cooperation. He also expressed the hope that the process will be carried out expeditiously and the visa-free regime will be launched in a few months.
"The European Commission came up with a legislative initiative concerning introduction of visa-free regime. This is a major step forward and a great success for our country and people. I want to thank our friends, our partners, to all those who contributed to this important process in such a positive manner. This initiative will be followed by a discussion in both the Council and the European Parliament. This process will be finalized in a few months. We hope that this process will be conducted in an expeditious manner. I want to thank the Commissioner for a legislative initiative. Respective decision was based on the progress made by Georgia and of course, I would like to thank the European Commission for the fruitful cooperation and support, "- Giorgi Kvirikashvili noted before the session.
According to US newspaper The Wall Street Journal support is expected from Brussels on Visa Liberalisation towards Georgia.
The European Commission will release Visa Liberalisation’s Report tomorrow; the report will assess Georgia’s progress of implementing its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) and will determine whether or not the country is technically ready to be granted a visa-free regime with the EU. But after the report two more European Institution will have to make a political decision on this subject.
The European Commission was planning to release the report on December 15, but the date was rescheduled because of technical reasons.
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, has been asked questions during the press Conference with European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn yesterday. One of the questions was:
“Georgia was willing to receive the visa liberalization at the Riga summit, but it will not happen and are you disappointed with it and do you think you're able to convince a skeptical Netherlands and France that you are able to get visa liberalization soon?”
Giorgi Margvelashvili stressed the Georgis huge work with partner from European Union and effective dialogue with the Association Agreement.
“The Commissioner spoke about the details of this process that can be carried out and I believe in developing my country in a more positive way. And the issue of visa liberalization is active on our agenda. Our government and society is doing much in this direction. As I said, we have received a very positive report, which we welcome. Exact orient on the details of the reforms that need to be taken by our society, we discuss in this report, is very interesting as a working agenda for our political development. We think that, in this report we will achieve positive results after the intensive involvement of the details in this direction. We are pleased with cooperation with our European partners and exchanging the ideas. We believe that the loaded European -oriented agenda, that our society, the government and parliament has, we will achieve our goal in the near future,” – said the Georgian President.