Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Van Rompuy on EU-Georgia Relations

Statement to the press by Herman VAN ROMPUY,President of the European Council,after his meeting with Nika GILAURI,Prime Minister of the Republic of Georgia

"EU-Georgia relations are strengthening rapidly. In the context of the Eastern Partnership, significant steps have been taken to enhance bilateral EU-Georgia relations. Discussions on the draft negotiation directives for an Association Agreement are now coming to an end. This means that it should be soon possible to start negotiations on this Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.

Georgia is also the only South Caucasus country to have successfully negotiated both Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements. The signature and entry into force of these agreements are now going through the EU’s internal decision-making procedure. We hope that we can soon fix a date for signature, possibly early June.

The strengthening of relations between Georgia and the EU is a stimulus for Georgia to deliver on further democratic reforms.

Local elections will take place end of May. We welcome the Georgian government’s invitation and the OSCE/ODIHR’s decision to observe these elections. The EU will not send observers but we will watch the developments closely.

The EU continues to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and expects Russia to fulfil all its commitments from the ceasefire agreements. It is the EU's intention to remain actively involved in confidence building measures and conflict resolution. The EU Monitoring Mission has proven to be a crucial factor of stability. It will remain so also in the future. We also consider that a dynamic Geneva process is of utmost importance.

The EU has a strategic interest in stability, prosperity and the development of democracy in our eastern neighbourhood. The Eastern Partnership is a powerful vehicle for promoting this, and for bringing the countries there closer to the EU and to one another."

Press Statement: Published on 16 March 2010

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