EU-Georgia: Meeting with the Minister of Justice
Brussels (17th September) - Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met with Georgian Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani in Brussels today. Commissioner Füle underlined EU´s view of Georgia as a key partner of the European Union and welcomed the commitment of Tbilisi to continue to deepen Georgia’s engagement with the EU. He also noted EU’s continuing commitment to political association and economic integration with Georgia as reflected in the joint ambition to have the Association Agreement, including DCFTA, initialled at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November.
The Commissioner and the Minister discussed the progress of Georgia's systemic justice sector reforms, planned and on-going, for the implementation of which the Minister is responsible. The Minister highlighted her ambition for a qualitative change of the justice system. Commissioner Füle reiterated the need to maintain as constructive an environment for this reform process as possible, and stressed that the time between the foreseen initialling of the Association Agreement, including the DCFTA, and its signature should be used to infuse reform processes with extra momentum.
Given the Minister's role in coordinating the Inter-agency Task Force on Free and Fair Elections, the discussion also focused on the upcoming presidential elections. The Commissioner stressed the utmost importance of free and fair October elections for further consolidation of the progress already achieved in Georgia in strengthening the democratic institutions.
Commissioner Füle also reiterated EU´s commitment to Georgia's territorial integrity and underlined the concern with which the EU is following the on-going process of erecting fences and other physical obstacles along the administrative boundary lines with South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Apart from the impact this has on the everyday life of the local population, it is detrimental to the longer term conflict resolution. The EU Monitoring Mission is addressing the situation on the ground; the overall process as well as specific concerns are raised in the context of the Geneva Discussions and will also be discussed in the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) regularly. The EU will continue to raise its concern about this issue and other obstacles along the administrative boundary lines in its meetings with the Russian Federation.