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Brussels, 24 November 2011

Meeting with Georgian Vice Prime Minister and State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Giorgi Baramidze

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle met with Georgian Vice Prime Minister and State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze today to discuss the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy Review and the follow-up to the recent Eastern Partnership Summit.

''In our talks we focused on how our partner countries, which are most engaged in reforms, will benefit more from their relationship with the EU, in line with the “more for more principle”. Mr Füle said after the meeting. Such benefits are expected to include: closer political association, deeper gradual economic integration in the EU market and increased EU support more generally, including in the domain of assistance. Commissioner Füle welcomed the progress made in Georgia in this regard. At the same time he also emphasized that Georgia needs to consolidate democracy and work hard to create a tolerant and pluralistic political culture. The upcoming parliamentary elections in 2012 and presidential election in 2013 will be an important test cases for Georgian democracy, which the EU will closely follow.

Minister Baramidze informed us about the progress made in Georgia in preparing for the start of negotiations on a Deep and Comprehensive Free trade area (DCFTA), as integral part of the ongoing Association Agreement negotiations with the EU. He also provided information about the implementation of the visa facilitation and readmission agreements between Georgia and the EU. Commissioner Füle made clear that the preparations in Georgia for DCFTA negotiations were in the final stages and that the Commission was now assessing the implementation of the preconditions. Commissioner Füle also made the point that it was important for Georgia now to start focussing beyond the start of DCFTA negotiations and to continue the crucial reform and modernization efforts for EU approximation. He also explained the Commission’s assessment that if Georgia continued with the effective implementation of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission agreements, a visa free dialogue with Georgia could be opened, possibly before the summer.

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