Georgia’s PM Irakli Garibashvili and Lithuania’s President Dalia Grybauskaitė during a meeting in Vilnius, November 5, 2015. Official photos by Robertas Dačkus
At a meeting with the Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili in Vilnius on November 5, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that problems with human rights, media freedom, as well as internal political bickering in Georgia are obstacles to country’s European path.
“Although the people of Georgia have firmly resolved to follow the European path, national progress in implementing reforms is impeded by human rights violations, restrictions on media freedom and rows within political parties,” President Grybauskaitė was quoted in a press release distributed by her office after the meeting with the Georgian PM.
The Lithuanian President also pointed out, according to her office, that Georgia’s successful integration into the EU “is in the hands of Georgia itself.”
“Everything depends on the political will and efforts of the national government and its effective dialogue with the opposition on the implementation of the necessary reforms,” reads the press release headlined “Internal obstacles on Georgia’s path to Europe”.
It said that the Georgian PM and the Lithuanian President also discussed Georgia’s “progress” in implementing visa liberalisation action plan with the EU. The Lithuanian President also noted “evident” progress made by Georgia on the path of NATO integration.
President Grybauskaitė reiterated her country’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity and said that “creeping occupation” of the Georgian territories by Russia is “unacceptable”.
During his two-day visit to Vilnius, where he arrived after visiting Estonia, the Georgian PM also met his Lithuanian counterpart Algirdas Butkevičius. In his statement after the meeting on November 4, PM Butkevičius also raised “concerns” over the media freedom in Georgia.
On visa liberalisation action plan with the EU, the Lithuanian PM said that he expects the European Commission’s report in mid December on how Georgia is implementing its reform targets will be “positive and final, and that it will be followed by a positive decision of the EU Council on visa liberalisation with Georgia.”
On November 5 the Georgian and Lithuanian prime ministers addressed the first meeting of Georgian-Lithuanian governmental commission on economic cooperation. The two prime ministers expressed hope that the work of the commission will help to boost bilateral economic ties.
Trade turnover between Georgia and Lithuania increased 7.5% year-on-year in the first nine months of this year to USD 53.9 million with Georgian exports to Lithuania declining 4.7% y/y to USD 20.7 million and imports from Lithuania increasing 17% y/y to USD 33.1 million in Jan-Sept, 2015, according to the Georgian state statistics office.
During the visit the Georgian PM also participated in a ceremony of opening of the Tbilisi Square in Vilnius.