EU and Georgia held eleventh meeting of cooperation council in Brussels on December 7 to discuss implementation of the EU-Georgia Neighborhood Policy action plan and talks on Association Agreement.
Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, said after the meeting that Georgia was “one of the most active partners” in frames of EU’s Eastern Partnership and hailed Georgian negotiators’ “determination and professionalism” in Association Agreement talks, which were launch in summer, 2010.
He said that during the meeting it was also discussed “how to even more concretely define key recommendations”, which would be required for Georgia to implement to launch talks on deep and comprehensive free trade agreement (DCFTA) with EU.
“I appreciated in this regard commitment of the Georgian side to do everything possible to deliver on these recommendations and to start negotiations on DCFT as soon as possible given the circumstances,” Füle said.
Georgia ambassador to the EU, Salome Samadashvili, said that Georgia was “a very committed partner to the European Union in the Eastern Partnership framework.”
“We hope to be a success story in making this policy operational and important tool for transformation of the countries in the region,” she said.
“We hope that we will start negotiations on free trade agreement in due time as it is extremely important for Georgia’s economic future to indeed start the negotiations and complete them in a timely fashion and the Georgian government is fully committed to that goal,” Samadashvili said.
She was representing the Georgian side in the meeting. Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, was initially planned to participate in the talks, but as the Georgian Foreign Ministry said, he could not depart from Tbilisi on December 6 after Lufthansa’s plane had to return to Tbilisi due to reported problems related to a drop in cabin pressure.
Commissioner Füle also said after the meeting, that “situation in occupied territories” was also discussed. He said that EU reiterated support to Georgia’s territorial integrity, as well as its commitment to the policy of non-recognition of and engagement with the two breakaway regions.
“We went through the very concrete list of the events on how to work together on implementing the Georgian strategy on engaging these two breakaway territories,” he said.
Georgia was also raised in Brussels on the same day, on December 7, at the EU-Russia summit.
In his opening remarks at a joint news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, President of European Council Herman Van Rompuy called for restoring “meaningful OSCE presence in Georgia”.
He also called “for renewed efforts to deal with both the security situation and humanitarian and human rights issues, consistent with the 2008 ceasefire agreement and with full respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.”
“Close cooperation with Russia on the above is the key to the success and progress in this field will create momentum for the EU-Russia cooperation in general,” Herman Van Rompuy said. He described EU and Russia as “real strategic partners.”