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Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia

 

Georgian government welcomes EU's ‘progress report' and recommendations for further reforms

 

TBILISI, Georgia, 21 March 2013 - The Georgian government has welcomed the European Commission's latest Country Progress Report, published yesterday, that noted deepening ties with the EU, wide-ranging reforms and efforts to calm tensions in the Caucasus region since the government came to power.

The report, titled "Implementation of European Neighbourhood Policy in Georgia", recognized Georgia's enactment of most of the key recommendations provided by the Commission in 2012, and noted "significant progress" in negotiations for an EU-Georgia Association Agreement and implementation of the visa facilitation and readmission agreements.

The Commission praised progress in fighting corruption and in deepening freedoms of assembly and association, and freedom of the media, highlighting how "progress on reforms for deep democracy and respect for human rights" has led to the allocation of additional Eastern Partnership funds to Georgia. The report also noted positive initiatives introduced by the new government to improve institutional balance of power and speed up much-needed judicial reform.

The government of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, which won a landslide victory in October 2012 elections, recognised as the most free and fair in Georgia's history, said it was encouraged by the EU report.

"We are very pleased to see this report vindicate our reform efforts and are confident of ever-closer ties with the European Union, which we consider vital to our national interests," Viktor Dolidze, Chairman of the Committee on European Integration and member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

The government also welcomed comments by EU Enlargement Commissioner ŠtefanFüle who, presenting the progress report to the European Parliament, said that "important practical steps" had been taken to remedy post-election political tensions as well as address justice-related issues.

"The Commissioner's observations support our belief that we are on the right track in opening up political dialogue, seeking national consensus to reform the government and the country, and to end the injustices of the past," Dolidze said.

The European Commission invited Georgia to continue and intensify its "constructive participation" and dialogue with international institutions such as the Council of Europe, the International Labour Organization, the OSCE and the joint EU-UN-OSCE chaired Geneva International Discussions addressing the consequences of the 2008 conflict with Russia.

The report called on the government to focus on the remaining key recommendations, relating to electoral law, constitutional reform, judicial reform, media pluralism and independence, and labour rights.

"Initiatives are already well underway to decentralize government, reform political financing, amend the constitution, ensure the independence of the judiciary and the freedom of the media," said Dolidze. "These reforms, as well as others in the economy, education and health for example, are being undertaken in full transparency and in consultation with our fellow Georgians and European partners."

With regards to regional security, the report said the EU remained committed to Georgia's territorial integrity. "Following the change of government, there are some encouraging signs of possibly more effective engagement [...] with the breakaway territories," the report said, encouraging further "pragmatic and constructive" reconciliation efforts. The Commission also said Georgia "remained a reliable energy partner for the EU in developing the Southern Corridor," with new agreements for the transport of oil supplies from Central Asia.

 

 
 

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