Georgia’s Foreign Minister Visits Brussels
Georgia’s Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili has met European Commissioners Adina Valean – Transport, Virginijus Sinkevičius – Environment, Janez Lenarčič – Crisis Management, Johannes Hahn – Budget and Administration, and Janusz Wojciechowski – Agriculture, as well as MEPs Marina Kaljurand and Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia), as part of the June 1-2 trip to Brussels.
The chief Georgian diplomats’ meetings with the European Commissioners focused on the country’s EU membership bid as well as key priorities of existing cooperation between Tbilisi and Brussels and the 2021-2027 Association Agenda, press statements by Georgia’s Foreign Ministry said.
The top diplomat and the Commissioner for Transport on June 1 stressed Georgia’s role as a regional center for transportation and logistics, connecting Asia with Europe, and agreed to continue work on the country’s connectivity with the EU, per the Foreign Ministry.
Also on June 1, FM Darchiashvili and Environment Commissioner Sinkevičius touched on how Georgia can better integrate with the EU on environmental protection and tackling climate change.
“Happy to see Georgia committing to deeper and wider implementation of our free trade areas agreement,” Commissioner Sinkevičius said after the meeting. “There are no sides to choose. The European path and values are the way to go[,] with the EU Green Deal in its core.”
Meanwhile, the top Georgian diplomat and the Commissioner for Crisis Management discussed the EU’s assistance for Georgia in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foreign Ministry reported.
Following the talks, Commissioner Lenarčič said that he expressed the EU’s continued support “to help Georgia get through various crises, including the impacts of the war in Ukraine, and strengthen its recovery and resilience.”
On July 2, FM Darchiashvili and Budget and Administration Commissioner Hahn talked about Georgia’s sectoral integration with the EU, per the Foreign Ministry.
Commissioner Hahn said he received “an ambitious and realistic update” from Georgian FM Ilia Darchiashvili. “Our Georgian partners are rightly focused on the mountain of work ahead, allowing them to get closer to the EU.”
Meanwhile, the Georgian chief diplomat and the Agriculture Commissioner touched upon prospects to increase Georgian exports to the EU, stressing the need to fully realize the potential of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, the Foreign Ministry said.
Also, the Foreign Ministry said on June 2 that FM Darchiashvili confirmed Georgia’s commitment to the reforms agenda and readiness to do more to meet membership criteria during the meeting with MEP Marina Kaljurand – chair of the Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus, and MEP Sven Mikser – European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia.
The diplomat and the MEPs also touched upon Russia’s war against Ukraine and its implications on regional security, per the report.
The chief diplomat’s trip to Brussels comes as Georgia awaits the European Commission’s opinion on its EU membership application, as well as a subsequent decision by the EU on the country’s candidacy.
Georgia filed its application for EU membership on March 3, following in the footsteps of Ukraine, which filed in the early days of the Russian invasion.
Georgia’s move came amid strained relations between the GD Government and Brussels, the least because of the controversial Supreme Court and High Council of Justice appointments, GD’s preemptive refusal of conditional EU loan, and Georgia’s alleged spying on western diplomats. The GD had also drawn criticism over unilateral withdrawal from the EU-brokered April 19 deal, between the governing and opposition parties.
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