Joint Media Statements by Prime Minister of Georgia and EU Commissioner Print Version

2019-09-16

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Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia:

"I greet and welcome European Commissioner Johannes Hahn. It is great honour for us to host him in Tbilisi, especially today, when we started an academic year and gave foundation to a new project - European School. It is a tangible result of Eastern Partnership with a tremendous personal contribution of the European Commissioner. It was his personal initiative and I wish to once again thank him for the actions and steps taken that enabled us to have a European School - an education institution of EU standards, which will primarily introduce European values among our youth. I also wish to clearly underline that EU integration process will bring more results. It is already doing so. We talked today about specific steps of the Association Agreement, along with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). We reviewed where we stand today, what needs to be done.

Of course, we also talked about such topics as visa-free travel arrangement and steps to be made for institutional and legislative advancement to make sure that our compatibility of our economies gets higher, thus enabling our citizens, businesses and economy to achieve more favourable results through this agreement.

Of course, we talked about occupation. We thanked the EU for the representation and for the function that they carry out along the occupation line. Nevertheless, we also noted that both sides need to do our best to make sure that their mandate covers the entire territory. It should enable the protection of basic security and human rights for our citizens. We also talked about further continuation of the democratization process and we agreed that basic democratic functions and values will be protected and further deepened in the country.

High-level meetings and cooperation that we have today will be continued further and will be made more effective."


Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations:

"I was very happy to meet Prime Minister Gakharia for the first time in his capacity as the Prime Minister. I think we had previous opportunities and I wanted to congratulate him for his recent appointment. The European Union and Georgia are close friends and partners. I confirm what the Prime Minister has already said about what we have talked about. It is about further deepening of our cooperation in particular using and materializing all the potential that are stemming from Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. There are many still untapped opportunities and I think can further strengthen not only our cooperation, but also the strategic character of our joint cooperation and coexistence.

Second, the Union remains a strong supporter of Georgia's successful reform process and efforts. We agreed on the need to keep up these efforts, particularly with regards to rule of law and further reform of the judiciary. The current process which will lead to the appointment of Supreme Court Judges is being followed very closely not only in Brussels, but in many European capitals. It is considered as extremely important to further ensure the independence and quality of the judiciary, and further strengthening of its institutions.

I underlined to the Prime Minister how important it will be for the ongoing electoral process to address all the recommendations provided by the OSCE, particularly in view of 2020 elections and inclusive and transparent process is necessary. Indeed, in this context a free and pluralistic media landscape remains very key for a healthy and solid democracy - and may I say for us - Georgia is a frontrunner of the respective developments in particular in the area of rule of law in the Eastern Neighbourhood and we would like this status to be kept in the future. I have no doubts about that.

In that respect I also wanted to recall that the European Union will also in the future without any doubts and any second thoughts support a very tough and consistent manner the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders.

I expressed my concern about the recent developments around the administrative boundary line with South Ossetia. Closure of crossing points and the ongoing borderisation process are unacceptable. This requires constructive engagement of all participants in the Geneva International Discussions, including Russia.

A strong and united Georgia is even more important to face ongoing challenges and it is also about the people living on one or the other side. All the initiatives you have taken in the past to offer them access to public services, etc. is something we welcome. And finally, I think it is in the interests of people. It is very human to offer them all the opportunities, e.g. to have an adequate and fast access to health treatment and services and things like that. I think if somebody has some respect for the basic needs and interests of people, one should think about all these measures. Hopefully, they will be revoked sooner or later.

Once again, thank you for your hospitality. Thank you for your support and commitment concerning the European School. I have to say it was a particular project of mine and I am grateful that we could finally implement it first here - in Georgia. We have chosen Georgia as a pilot plot a couple of years ago for this initiative and having today met the second class and first class of this specific European High School, was a great event for me personally and I will stay committed to the interests of Georgia. I have the intention to visit Georgia even in the future - at least once a year to see the progress and in particular progress of the European School.

In my future capacity, provided I will pass the examination at the European Parliament, I will certainly have the opportunity to look after the specific needs and interests of Georgia.

So, thank you again for this almost five years of excellent cooperation. I think it has paid off. We will certainly continue. The advantage of the European Union is that we are sometimes bothering in a way, but we are reliable partners. There is continuity. People might change, but institutions stay and the institution is committed because it is represented by people. Spirit is there and this spirit will stay."

Prime Minister's Press Office