The details of this progress are highlighted in the 2nd Joint Association Implementation Report on Georgia, released today by the European External Action Service and the European Commission, ahead of the EU-Georgia Association Council on 8 December 2017.
“The European Union and Georgia have invested a lot in a strong partnership that is proving deeper day by day and that is bringing great benefits to our citizens. Since last March, Georgian citizens have been able to travel without a visa to the Schengen Area for short stays, we see more exchanges between our students than ever before, and there are more possibilities for trade among our businesses. Today's report demonstrates clear progress in Georgia's reform agenda. The European Union will continue to support the work that has still to be done in several important areas and will stay committed to the thorough and continued implementation of our Association Agenda”, said the High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini.
"We continue to see positive results of the implementation of the Association Agreement”, said the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn. “The revised EU-Georgia Association Agenda provides a practical framework of priorities for joint work until 2020. The approximation to EU standards and regulations is allowing Georgia to become more and more an actor in the international market. The EU is Georgia's largest trade partner and 2017 looks to have brought further increases. The accession of Georgia to the Energy Community Treaty as a full contracting party in July 2017 was another milestone bringing the EU and Georgia closer“.
This 2nd Joint Report assesses the state of play of Georgia's implementation of the Association Agenda since the EU-Georgia Association Council of December 2016. It focuses on key developments and reforms undertaken in line with the strategic priorities agreed between the EU and Georgia. According to the report, Georgia has implemented a number of reforms, strengthening democracy and the rule of law, as well as other key areas in the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. Overall, commitments stemming from the Association Agreement, including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), have been implemented in line with agreed timelines. Georgia's democratic institutions have been consolidated and a comprehensive legislative framework for human rights and anti-discrimination has been adopted.
The report recalls that the full range of commitments under the Association Agreement will require further legislation to be passed and in parallel the steady implementation of existing rules and standards. This is essential to guarantee that Georgian citizens will, over time, fully enjoy the benefits of the DCFTA and of the broader EU-Georgia relationship.
In the area of economic development, the report underlines the benefits brought to the EU and Georgia since the start of the provisional application of the DCFTA in September 2014. With the progressive approximation of technical regulations and standards with those of the EU, Georgia has been increasingly able to strengthen its participation in international value chains. In 2016, the EU was the largest trade partner of Georgia with 30% share in its overall trade. Preliminary data on 2017 suggest a continuation of this trend, with bilateral trade remaining strong. The 1st semester of 2017 saw an increase in EU imports from Georgia by 56%, and an increase of EU exports to Georgia by 2% compared to the 1st semester of the previous year.
The European Union continues to fully support Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The EU actively supports conflict resolution efforts through the work of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, and the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia. On security, the fight against terrorism and transnational organised crime, Georgia continues to be an important partner of the EU. In April 2017, Georgia and Europol concluded a Strategic and Operational Agreement, and the first high level EU–Georgia Strategic Security Dialogue took place in October. Georgia provides personnel to EU military and civilian operations, strengthening the EU's role as a global security provider and increasing the resilience of countries worldwide.