PRESS RELEASE: Georgia-EU Association Agreement signed: trade boost with reform roadmap
Brussels, 27 June 2014 – Georgia and the European Union on Friday signed a far-reaching Association Agreement which Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said will boost democratic standards and trade in Georgia, including its occupied territories, and pave the way toward full EU membership.
“The Association Agreement is the master plan for the European integration of Georgia,” Mr. Garibashvili said in a speech at the signing ceremony. “By gradual legislative harmonisation with the European Union, Georgia will achieve political association and economic integration with the Union and firmly anchor the country to the European institutions.”
“It is the people of Georgia who … have chosen democracy, have chosen reform, have chosen the irreversible path of European integration,” he added. “Our return to the European family by becoming a full member of the European Union once and for all, is Georgia’s unwavering will.”
The Prime Minister noted the accord will boost mutual growth. By harmonising standards and removing duties with the world’s largest market under the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), Georgia expects greater development and foreign direct investment.
“Thanks to our strategic location and unwavering commitment to European and Euro-atlantic integration, Georgia is a reliable bridge. We offer a dynamic market for business, we offer a secure corridor for European energy safety, we offer capable and reliable partnership for international security” Mr. Garibashvili said.
The Prime Minister also extended a hand to the Russian-occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
“Every citizen living in Georgia, including our compatriots living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” said Mr. Garibashvili, “we are all the children of one country, one land. From now on, you, together with us, are sharers in this process. You have a unique opportunity to enjoy all the benefits provided by association with Europe, which includes visa-free travel to EU member states, access to the European market for businesspersons, participation in European educational programs, and many more”.
Mr. Garibashvili said that the implementation of the Association Agreement is a priority for his government. “By successfully implementing the Association Agreement and through consistent policies, we aim fully to exploit and bring the opportunities and benefits opened by the Agreement to all strata of our society.”
The document marks another important step for the EU towards a more diversified energy market. It is one more step towards another source of energy, that is Caspian Energy.