Joint Press Statement Following 8th EU-Georgia Association Council Meeting

On February 20, the 8th meeting of the EU-Georgia Association Council was held in Brussels for the first time since Georgia became an EU candidate country. The meeting was chaired by EU High Commissioner Josep Borrell, while the Georgian delegation was led by newly appointed Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze. EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi also attended the meeting.

Georgia’s EU Candidacy, Nine conditions

The Association Council welcomed the European Council’s “historic” decision to grant Georgia the status of EU candidate country, stating that this “took the EU-Georgia relations to a new strategic level”.

Regarding the nine conditions set by the European Commission for Georgia to move to the next stage of opening accession negotiations, the EU “encouraged Georgia to further progress on reforms”.

It was also stressed that the conditions must be met through “meaningful and irreversible reforms, prepared and implemented in consultation with the opposition and civil society”. The EU side stressed that “Georgia’s progress towards the European Union will depend on its own merit in meeting the accession criteria,” – the press release says.

Reforms, Political Polarization

The press release says that the EU acknowledged the reforms undertaken by Georgia to align its legislation with that of the Union. It is noted that the goal of becoming an EU member is “strongly supported” by the Georgian people, as well as by its government and the political spectrum in general, which has been a “key driver” in the reform process.

The press release says that at the meeting “the EU urged all political actors in Georgia to demonstrate constructive cross-party cooperation and dialogue, overcome polarization and refrain from actions that could further deepen the political tensions and hamper the country’s reform agenda.” In this context, the Association Council praised Georgia’s “vibrant” civil society and underlined the importance of “inclusive, meaningful and systematic engagement with civil society in the policy-making processes.”


According to the press release, discussions at the meeting also focused on the fight against disinformation, anti-EU rhetoric and foreign information manipulation and interference. While noting the government’s efforts, the EU called on Georgia to take meaningful steps in this regard.

State Institutions, Rule of Law, Electoral System

The Association Council stressed the need to ensure the “full independence, accountability and impartiality of all State institutions”, adding that this should be done in line with European standards and the recommendations of the Venice Commission. Discussions at the meeting focused in particular on the judicial, prosecutorial, anti-corruption and monetary institutions, as well as on the need to further improve the implementation of parliamentary oversight, notably of the security services.

The need for further efforts to pursue a comprehensive judicial reform in particular to ensure “the full independence, accountability and impartiality” of all judicial and prosecutorial institutions” is underlined in the document.

The Association Council noted the reforms undertaken to improve electoral framework and called on Georgia to finalize the electoral reform ahead of the upcoming 2024 Parliamentary elections in line with the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR recommendations.

Human Rights Protection

The Association Council welcomed the work undertaken towards the protection of human rights in Georgia, with an emphasis on reforms to ensure gender equality, gender-based and domestic violence, as well as work on legislation related to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and the appointment of the Public Defender. The EU underlined the need to continue this work and ensure the enhanced respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the protection of freedom of expression, assembly and media in Georgia.


Noting the work undertaken on deoligarachization, the Association Council stressed the need to implement the current Action Plan efficiently through a multi-sectoral systemic approach. the EU welcomed the creation of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, and stressed the importance of its effectiveness and independence. The EU underlined the importance of further efforts to tackle all forms of corruption, including as part of deoligarchization efforts.

CFSP Alignment

The Association Council underlined “the strong expectation [of the EU] for Georgia to substantially increase its alignment with the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy” and called on Georgia to progress towards full alignment.

According to the press release, the meeting discussed “Georgia’s proactive engagement and constructive cooperation in preventing circumvention of EU sanctions against Russia.” In addition, the EU expressed its readiness to further assist Georgia in addressing the challenges it faces as a consequence of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, including in the area of cyber and hybrid threats, and to support the Georgian Armed Forces through the European Peace Facility. Georgia expressed willingness to launch cooperation with the UE specialized agencies as well as to participate in PESCO projects.


The EU reiterated its support for Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. The discussions also focused on the conflict resolution and the EU’s policy of non-recognition and engagement in Georgia. The sides reaffirmed their commitment to the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs)

The EU and Georgia expressed concern regarding Russia’s attempts to incorporate the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskinvali region/South Ossetia into Russia’s political, security, military economic, and others spheres. The Council condemned the killing of the Georgian civilian Tamaz Ginturi by Russian forces illegally stationed in Georgia. The sides also discussed the security, humanitarian and human rights situation, including violations of the rights to freedom of movement, property, education in the mother tongue and ethnic discrimination against Georgians.


The Association Council welcomed Georgia’s post-pandemic economic recovery and its GDP growth. It also praised Georgia’s fiscal and monetary policies against the background of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Meanwhile, the EU mentioned the National Bank of Georgia and stressed the importance of ensuring the independence and credibility of the country’s main financial institution.

The EU reiterated Georgia’s role as a partners for European energy security, and notably its transit role for Caspian hydrocarbons.

In addition, the sides also discussed issues related to EU-Georgia trade relations, Georgia prospects for joining the EU’s Single Euro Payments Area programs and EU’s roaming system, educational exchange programs, EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, etc.

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


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