In his remarks at the videoconference of the Eastern Partnership Ministerial on June 11, Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani spoke of the country’s priorities, including Georgia’s EU aspirations and its gradual integration into European single market.
Georgia’s chief diplomat called for more EU engagement and “constant monitoring” of the developments in Georgia’s Russian-occupied regions amid illegal “borderization” and Kremlin’s disinformation campaign.
He then thanked the 27-member bloc for “timely supporting” Georgia in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
Honoured 2 address #EaP Foreign Ministerial. Grateful 2 EU for timely support in Covid19 fight. Underlined political ambition & practical relevance of EaP. 🇬🇪‘s European aspirations & EU single market integration. Highlighted importance of sustainable peace and security in Europe pic.twitter.com/IqlOLSEBR7
— David Zalkaliani (@DZalkaliani) June 11, 2020
On his part, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said at a press conference following the videoconference that the Eastern Partnership (EaP) “remains at the heart” of EU foreign policy.
According to Borrell, at the meeting 27 EU Foreign Ministers demonstrated their unity and commitment to their six Eastern neighbors – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
Calling EaP “a success story,” Borrell said the EU wants “this success story to continue” for the benefit of all citizens. “It’s [been] 11 years of this successful policy, but there is still a lot to do and still a lot that we can achieve together,” he stated.
Noting that the EU remains “side by the side” with the Eastern partners, top European diplomat said the bloc is ready to support EaP countries in every step towards “complete recovery” from the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, added that the EaP “is and will continue to be a key priority” for the EU.
#EasternPartnership is and will continue to be a key priority for #EU. This was also confirmed during #COVID19 pandemic, w support of close to €1bn provided to address immediate health crisis as well economic recovery. 🇺🇦 🇬🇪 🇲🇩 will also benefit from macro-financial assistance. pic.twitter.com/YPsXjM1xfJ
— Oliver Varhelyi (@OliverVarhelyi) June 11, 2020
Noting that in Georgia there is “quite a long list of reforms still outstanding,” Várhelyi said “we want to cooperate with the Georgian government to be able to deliver that.” “If Georgia is interested in coming forward and implementing faster the DCFTA [Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area], we are also ready to do that,” the EU Commissioner said.
“In our approach, we offer of course the possibility for those who are interested to cooperate more with us to cooperate more,” he said, adding that that the political priorities of the EU “are unchanged,” and that it wants “democratic reforms” to be delivered on the ground.
The next videoconference of the Leaders of the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries will take place on June 18.
- AFET Adopts Recommendations on EaP, Calls for ‘Enhanced EU Dialogue’ with Georgia
- Council Conclusions on Eastern Partnership Policy beyond 2020
- EU Council Adopts EUR 150 Mln Loan Package for Georgia
- EU Allocates EUR 183 Mln to Support Georgia’s Needs amid Pandemic