Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia concluded September 29-30 visit to Brussels, where he held various high profile meetings with the EU leaders, MEPs and NATO Secretary-General. The PM was accompanied by Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani and Head of Government Administration Natia Mezvrishvili.
On September 29, Prime Minister Gakharia met with EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, discussing various issues, including regional security, Georgia’s territorial integrity, October 31 parliamentary elections, as well as the Association Agreement and DCFTA, as reported by PM’s Press Office.
According to the statement, Gakharia pledged that the October 31 elections will be held “to the highest standards and transparency.”
Prime Minister’s Press Office reported that PM Gakharia highlighted the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Russian-occupied territories, including the local’s lack of access to medical services and native language education, as well as the closure of crossing points.
On its part, European External Action Service (EEAS) stated that top EU diplomat called on Georgia to “continue the reform momentum in the period ahead, particularly in the justice sector, where in the short term the recommendations of the Venice Commission should be taken on board as regards the selection process of Supreme Court judges.”
EEAS stated that High Representative Borrell reaffirmed support to Georgia’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and “EU’s full commitment to peaceful conflict resolution.” The parties also discussed regional security, namely the “worrying situation” in Nagorno Karabakh.
Yesterday I met with Georgian PM @GakhariaGiorgi & FM @DZalkaliani. We discussed progress made by Georgia in implementing commitments made under the Association Agreement, further reforms, upcoming elections and situation South Ossetia and #NagornoKarabakh https://t.co/N5MqOA68ys pic.twitter.com/ToOCf7gp7K
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) September 30, 2020
On September 29, PM Gakharia also met with European Parliament President David Maria Sassoli, where they discussed similar issues, such as recent constitutional reforms, the upcoming 31 October parliamentary elections and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the occupied territories. Prime Minister Gakharia also met with David McAllister, Chair of the EP Foreign Affairs Committee, discussing the same key issues on September 30.
Meeting with European Commissioners
The Georgian Prime Minister also met with several European Commissioners. During the meeting with Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, the parties discussed various issues, including migration, visa liberalization and police cooperation. PM’s Press office stated that “cooperation between Georgia and EU institutions such as EUROPOL and Frontex,” as well as “the extension of Georgian police attaché network in European capitals” were positively assessed.
On September 30, PM Gakharia held a meeting with European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth Mariya Gabriel, discussing EU-Georgian cooperation on education, including programs such as Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020. Prime Minister’s Press Office stated that Gakharia voiced an initiative to charge Georgian students studying in the EU the same amount of tuition fees as the EU students.
At another meeting, with European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, prospects for cooperation in energy projects were discussed. PM’s Press Office states that Giorgi Gakharia expressed hope for “increased EU investments in this direction.”
The Georgian PM also met with European Commissioner for Transport, Adina Vălean, where they discussed EU-Georgian transportation and communication links, as reported by Prime Minister’s Press Office.