Brussels, 30 November 2009
The European Union and Georgia enter into a mobility partnership
Jacques Barrot, the Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for justice, freedom and security, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the Commissioner responsible for external relations, Tobias Billström, Sweden’s Minister for Migration and Asylum Policy, and Giorgi Baramidze, Georgia’s Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, today launched, with the relevant ministers of the Member States concerned (Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the United Kingdom), today launched a mobility partnership between the European Union and Georgia by signing a Joint Declaration in which they undertake to implement practical initiatives in the field of migration.
Mobility partnerships are flexible non-binding frameworks for enhanced dialogue and cooperation between the EU and third countries, involving the coordinated and consistent implementation of practical initiatives in the field of migration, proposed by the Commission, the Member States or the third country concerned, according to their own competences. The goal of the mobility partnerships is to ensure the responsible joint management of migratory flows in the interests of the Union, its partners and the migrants themselves. They are at the same time part of the process of implementing the global approach to migration developed by the EU over the last few years.
On the launch of this partnership, Vice-President Barrot stated: "I welcome the signing of the mobility and partnership agreement between Georgia and the EU, which will add to the recent visa facilitation and readmission agreements to boost cooperation between the EU and Georgia in the field of migration and open up new opportunities for practical joint initiatives. The partnership will cover several crucial issues, including the reintegration of returning migrants seriously affected by the global crisis.”
Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner, responsible for external relations and the European Neighbourhood Policy, stated: “This mobility partnership with Georgia will give practical expression to the migration policy guidelines defined under the Eastern Partnership; it is a practical response to the Georgian citizens’ aspirations for mobility and a new step in promoting close relations between our peoples.”
In June 2008, the European Council called on the Commission to cooperate with the Member States concerned and the Presidency to initiate a dialogue with Georgia in order to launch a mobility partnership.
The aim is for the EU and Georgia to pursue and step up their dialogue and cooperation in key areas underpinning the global approach to migration, namely improving the management of legal migration, strengthening the positive synergies between migration and development and preventing and reducing illegal immigration.
The discussions between the European Commission, the Member States concerned and Georgia have resulted in a political declaration of intent, to which are annexed a number of practical initiatives proposed by the signatories, coordinated implementation of which will give practical expression to this partnership. Frontex and the European Training Foundation (ETF) are also involved in this partnership.
The partnership is open to any new additional initiative and to any other Member State wishing to take part.
Content of the partnership
Initiatives under the partnership will be aimed at promoting a better framework for the movement of persons and legal migration, in particular by enhancing Georgia’s ability to manage migration and by implementing measures to inform, integrate and protect migrants and returnees. The partnership will also support Georgia’s efforts to improve its handling of issues relating to asylum and the protection of refugees, to prevent and reduce illegal migration and human trafficking and to strengthen border control.
This partnership with Georgia joins those launched in 2008 with Republic of Moldova and Cape Verde.