EU on Georgia’s Decision to Issue Permit for Direct Flights with Russia: “This is Very Regrettable”

EU Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano at a European Commission mid-day press briefing today said, that EU regrets the decision by Georgia to resume flights to and from Russia following the latter’s decision to lift the air travel ban.

He noted that due to the war waged by Russia against Ukraine, the EU and its partners do not allow flights from Russia, to Russia or over Russia. The Spokesperson stressed that this is “really raising our concerns and is very regrettable”. He recalled the concerns which were conveyed to the Georgian authorities by the UN International Civil Aviation Organization/ICAO regarding the overall security of the Russian aviation sector and aircraft.

Addressing the decision by Georgia to issue permit for a Russian air company to start direct flights Peter Stano stressed that the “latest decision by the Georgian authorities raises concerns in terms of Georgia’s EU path and Georgia’s commitments to align with the EU decisions in the foreign policy as foreseen in the EU Georgia Association Agreement” noting that Georgia’s alignment with EU’s foreign and security policy decisions has dropped from already low 44% last year to mere 31% so far this year.

Georgia has Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement and visa free travel with the EU. The EU membership is Georgia’s stated top foreign and security policy policy priority and more than 80% of the population support EU integration. Georgia is awaiting the EU decision on granting the EU candidate status at the end of the year.

For comparison with other candidates/potential candidates for EU membership from Balkans: North Macedonia’s rate of alignment with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy/ CFSP statements in 2022 was 100%, Montenegro’s 100%, Albania 100% and Bosnia and Herzegovina has made some progress in improving its alignment with EU foreign policy statements and restrictive measures, reaching 81% by end August 2022. Serbia rate of alignment with the EU Common Foreign and Policy/ CFSP statements in 2022 was 48%.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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