EU-Georgia: Signature of Association Agreement top priority
Prague (25 April) - Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met with the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili in Prague on Friday.
The Commissioner and the President agreed that signing the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) in June, is a top priority. They exchanged views on how to ensure that the benefits of the Association Agreement/DCFTA are felt by Georgian citizens as soon as possible.
Commissioner Füle underlined that the Agreement/DCFTA will bring significant benefits to Georgia and to the quality of life for ordinary Georgians. Not only will it help modernise and boost the economy, stimulate competition, ensure greater variety of goods and offer better access to the European market; it will also provide predictability and security with established European norms for health and environmental safety.
Commissioner Füle pointed out that by creating a safe and predictable regulatory environment the AA/DCFTA will reinforce the rule of law and consolidate democratic institutions in Georgia. Therefore, in order to reap the full benefits of the AA/DCFTA, Georgia must show its genuine commitment to all aspects of the Association Agreement including shared values. In this context he added that it was extremely important that the government continues to deliver consistently on political reforms and focuses also on the need to strengthen the democratic institutions and respect for the role of the opposition. Commissioner Füle welcomed the advice provided to the government in this respect by EU's Special Adviser Thomas Hammarberg.
The Commissioner also expressed the hope that in order to move ahead with the visa liberalisation Georgia would quickly adopt anti-discrimination legislation, which is now being debated in the Parliament.
Commissioner Füle also highlighted the planned meeting in May between President Barroso and PM Garibashvili, and key Commissioners and Georgian ministers respectively.