PM Irakli Garibashvili said that his visit to Brussels during which he held talks with NATO and EU officials was “very successful”.
Speaking to Georgian journalists on November 18 before wrapping up his two-day visit, the PM said while commenting on his meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that “new stage is beginning” in relations between Georgia and NATO. Implementation of the “substantive package” of cooperation, which NATO offered to Georgia at its summit in Wales in September, was the main topic of discussion during that meeting on November 17.
“[NATO’s] stance is very positive and optimistic,” Garibashvili said. “We will have final picture by February about how to implement this package.”
Commenting on the first session of EU-Georgia Association Council, Garibashvili said that “a very fruitful” and “very positive” meeting.
“It is important to have unity, stability at home; we will achieve this. It is necessary for the opposition to be more constructive – that was also part of the discussion [with the EU], they [referring to the EU] also want the opposition to be more constructive and to cooperate with the government; I hope that will be the case, we are motivated in this regard,” Garibashvili said.
He also said that there were “no questions whatsoever” about selective justice in Georgia.
“I explained to them that we are fully committed to provide all the information, we are open government, prosecutor’s office works without any political interference, the judiciary is today completely independent, judges are independent,” Garibashvili said.
EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said after the meeting of the EU-Georgian Association Council that the EU “underlined the need to improve the political climate” in Georgia.
“Political retribution, confrontation and polarization should be avoided and space for opposition and cross party dialogue should be ensured,” Mogherini said. “Any form of instrumentalization of the prosecution for political purposes must be avoided.”
Commenting on visa liberalisation, the PM declined to speculate on timeframe within which Georgia may finalize the process, citing that he does not want to trigger over-expectations.
Speaking right after the EU-Georgia Association Council meeting on November 17, Garibashvili said that Georgia is committed to meet “all the benchmarks” of the second phase of visa liberalization action plan by the time of Riga Summit - the Latvian capital will host the Eastern Partnership summit next year as Latvia will be holding EU’s rotating presidency in the first half of 2015.
The EU said late last month that Georgia fulfilled first-phase requirements under the visa liberalisation dialogue with the EU, which paved the way for the launch of the second phase. The first phase benchmarks included the overall policy framework, involving adoption of relevant legislation, and the second phase benchmarks involve putting into practice effective and sustainable implementation of these relevant measures and legislation. Experts from EU-member states will make evaluation mission to assess implementation of second phase benchmarks on November 24.