The European Parliament approved the EU-Georgia Association Agreement on Thursday (18 December). The deal is hailed as a way to foster solid political relations and economic integration including the piecemeal opening up of both markets. The agreement is the third in a series of association agreements with the states beyond the Eastern Schengen border following deals with Ukraine and Moldova. EU-Georgia Agreement was approved by 490 votes, with 76 votes against the deal and 57 abstentions.
EU leaders declared that the ratification of the association agreement with Georgia has opened a new chapter in the EU relations with the country situated in the Caucasus part of Eurasia. “Georgia has made significant progress in reforms and strengthening its relations with the EU. We welcome recent judicial reforms designed to strengthen Georgia’s democratic institutions and support the efforts of Georgian society to achieve further democratisation. Although much work remains to be done, experience shows that Georgians prefer to solve their problems, not to avoid them. I think that Europe should now show its real solidarity with Georgia and its people”, rapporteur Andrejs Mamikins said.
The deal was accompanied by an additional resolution approved by 491 voted to 84 with 63 abstentions, in which MEPs emphasize that the deal covers the entire internationally recognized territory of Georgia including the disputed parts of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Russia continues to occupy. The European Parliament condemns the “so called alliance and strategic partnership” treaty between Abkhazia and Russia, which is considered a next step towards the full annexation of Abkhazia. Brussels keeps on calling upon Russia to withdraw its forces.
The EU Parliament also noted that Tbilisi has made major progress in reform efforts and the door of the Union will be open for the country if the conditions are met. However, Brussels urges Georgia to consolidate the reforms and put an end to selective and political use of justice. The EU encourages Georgia to work towards a society characterized by pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, solidarity and equality between women and men.