“The European Union and Georgia continued to intensify their relations,” with Georgia consolidating its position “as important partner of the EU in the region,” the European Commission and the European External Action Service stated in their 3rd Joint Association Implementation Report on Georgia.
The document, released ahead of the EU-Georgia Association Council on March 5, assesses the state of play of Georgia’s implementation of the Association Agenda since the EU-Georgia Association Council of February 2018 and focuses on key developments and reforms undertaken in line with the strategic priorities agreed between the EU and Georgia.
According to the report, “Georgia is progressing with the implementation of its commitments under the AA and continuing the process of approximating its legislation and institutional structures closer to EU standards and requirements.”
“EU will continue supporting key reform priority actions as programmed for 2017-2020, with the objective of delivering visible and tangible benefits for citizens, business and consumers of Georgia,” the document says.
The report stresses “progress” in strengthening its democratic institutions, in the framework of the constitutional reform process and public administration reform. It also states that the Presidential elections were held in an overall competitive environment, noting that they “also raised some shortcomings.” Progress in justice system was evaluated as “modest”, with the call voiced to “consolidate the results achieved and to make further progress in this area.”
It also says that “it is important for Georgia to continue fostering an open dialogue with all political actors and civil society in order to further strengthen democratic institutions, consolidate pluralistic democracy, advance reforms and ensure the full and sustainable implementation of newly adopted legislation.”
“The judiciary reforms should be continued, with special attention to transparency and accountability in the process of appointing judges,” it further notes.
The report focuses on EU-Georgia trade relations as well, stressing that “Georgia is reaping the benefits of economic integration through the DCFTA implementation which enhanced Georgian trade towards the EU.” “Nevertheless, further efforts are needed to stimulate exports and improve the trade balance between the EU and Georgia,” it also says.
The European Commission underscored in its press release of January 31 that Georgia “continues to be an important partner of the EU in the area of security, the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime.”
It then emphasized Georgia’s contribution to “increasing the resilience of countries worldwide and strengthening the EU’s role as a global security provider.”
Commenting on the report, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of the European Commission, said EU and Georgia “have excellent relations that we further intensified over the past year.”
“EU will continue to accompany and support the Georgian authorities in implementing important reforms under the Association Agenda, which provides priorities for our joint work until 2020 – reforms that are bringing more and more benefits to Georgian and EU’s citizens alike,” Mogherini said.
Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, spoke on the report as well. He said, EU is Georgia’s “largest trade partner,” and “will cooperate to further develop Georgia’s export potential.”