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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

 

12th EU-Georgia Cooperation Council meeting

The Cooperation Council between the EU and Georgia held its 12th meeting on December 1, 2011 in Brussels, which was chaired by the Georgian side, namely Mr. Grigol Vashadze, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, based on a rotation principle. The Georgian delegation also included Mr. Irakli Porchkhidze, first Deputy State Minister for Reintegration and Mrs. Tamar Beruchashvili, Chief Adviser to the State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. The European side was led by Mr. Radosław Sikorski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, representing the current Presidency of the EU Council. The European Commission was represented by Mr. Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy and the European External Action Service (EEAS) - by Mr. Gunnar Wiegand, Director in the Directorate Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation & OSCE. The EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and Crisis in Georgia, Ambassador Phillip Lefort, also took part in the meeting.

The plenary meeting of the EU-Georgia Cooperation Council discussed current priority issues related to EU-Georgia Cooperation, particularly: cooperation within the bilateral and multilateral dimensions of the Eastern Partnership; progress in the implementation of the EU-Georgia ENP Action Plan; security situation in Georgia and the importance of further activation of EU's role in this regard. The focus was also made on the progress achieved by Georgia in implementing democratic reforms.

During the Cooperation Council meeting the sides positively assessed the progress in EU-Georgia bilateral cooperation for the last year and defined further steps. In this context, it is noteworthy, that the EU side welcomed the work done by Georgia during the preparatory phase for the start of negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) and expressed hope that negotiations would be launched before the end of 2011, upon elaboration of positive assessment by the European Commission, as foreseen by the Joint Declaration adopted at the Warsaw EaP Summit.

The EU welcomed effective implementation of the visa facilitation and readmission agreement by Georgia, which is an underlying precondition for cooperation towards the visa liberalisaiton with the EU. It was underlined at the Cooperation Council that the EU considered possible to launch the visa free dialogue with Georgia before summer 2012 based on the results of an expert mission to visit Georgia in the beginning of 2012.

During the meeting the sides discussed ongoing negotiations on the EU-Georgia Association Agreement; they welcomed progress made so far and expressed hope that that they would achieve agreement on further elements of the text in near future.The sides positively assessed implementation of the EU-Georgia ENP Action Plan. Considering that the Action Plan expires at the end of 2011, the Cooperation Council agreed to extend the AP until a new enhanced document is in place, which in future will replace the ENP AP.

During the Cooperation Council particular attention was paid to the security situation in Georgia and opportunities of EU's enhanced role in this regard, including through more effective use of existing mechanisms. The importance and effectiveness of the EUMM as the only international mechanism on the ground was underlined; the need of ensuring access of the EUMM to the occupied territories of Georgia was underlined, in order to fully implement its mandate. Importance of and the need to maintain the Geneva discussions were also emphasized. During the Cooperation Council meeting the EU side reaffirmed its support for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, within its internationally recognised borders. Importance of non-recognition policy towards Georgia's occupied territories and readiness of the EU to continue its active implementation was specifically underlined. At the meeting, the EU noted the necessity of ensuring fulfilment by the Russian side of its obligations assumed under the cease-fire agreement of August 12, 2008.

During the plenary meeting of the EU-Georgia Cooperation council significant attention was paid to review reform process in Georgia in the fields of democracy, rule of law, media freedom, human rights, etc. The Georgian side presented information on the measures undertaken by the Government of Georgia and the relevant progress achieved in the mentioned fields. The EU welcomed Georgia's efforts in the democratic reform process and noted the importance of maintaining this track.

The meeting ended with a press-conference.

 

1 December 2011

Press and Information Department

 
 

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