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EU, Georgia Making 'Good Progress' in Association Agreement, Visa Liberalization Talks
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 3 Sep.'12 / 20:51

EU said on September 3 that talks with Georgia over Association Agreement, also including deep and comprehensive free trade agreement, as well as visa dialogue “are characterised by good progress.”

“We wish to reaffirm that Georgia is an important partner for the European Union and we are committed to further deepening our very dynamic relations,” EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood said in a joint statement.

Georgian PM Vano Merabishvili met with Commissioner Füle and President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy in Brussels on September 3.

“We confirm our commitment to sustain the pace with a view to completing the negotiations on the Association Agreement next year,” the EU foreign policy chief and Commissioner for Enlargement said in the statement.

“Regarding mobility, our aim is to table a Visa Liberalisation Action Plan by the end of this year,” the statement reads.

EU and Georgia launched visa liberalisation dialogue with an aim to examine all the relevant conditions for visa-free travel to the EU for Georgian citizen in June.

Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP) is the main instrument to conduct talks, which represents a set of detailed requirements that a country should meet in order to be granted short-term visa-free regime.

The European Union also said that Georgia’s “challenges ahead include consolidation of democracy, the spreading of the benefits of growth, and achieving a broader inclusion of marginalised groups that are key to the sustainable development of Georgian society.”

The statement reiterates “the EU’s firm support for Georgia’s territorial integrity.”

President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, who met with Georgian PM Merabishvili, called on the Georgian authorities “to look for further pragmatic and constructive steps to enhance its reconciliation and conflict resolution efforts with the breakaway regions.”

“The EU and Georgia share the interest to open these isolated societies to modernization and development,” he said. “The benefits from getting closer to the EU – higher standards, free trade, investment and visa liberalization - should reach the whole population, including those divided by conflict.”

Van Rompuy also noted “the impressive recent developments in Georgia where more efficient institutions have been built and improved services to citizens have been delivered with the help of the EU.”
 
He said that as part of EU’s "more for more" policy towards its eastern partners, the European Union “intensified its support” to Georgia through additional EUR 22 million of assistance under the new Eastern Partnership Integration and Cooperation programme.

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