Georgia–European Union relations

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European Union-Georgia relations
Map indicating locations of European Union and Georgia

European Union

Georgia

Georgia and the European Union have maintained relations since 1996 in the INOGATE framework, and in 2006 a five-year "Action Plan" of rapprochement was implemented in the context of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). A more comprehensive Association Agreement is under ratification (as of 2015). A European Union Monitoring Mission was sent to Georgia in the wake of the 2008 South Ossetia war.

Georgia does not have any official status as a candidate for future enlargement of the European Union, but in 2011 Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili expressed a desire for his country to become a member state of the EU.[1] This view has been explicitly expressed on several occasions as links to the United States, EU and NATO have been strengthened in an attempt to move away from the Russian sphere of influence.[2]

The sign in the Simon Janashia Museum of Georgia (Tbilisi)

Adjara crisis (2004)[edit]

Further information: 2004 Adjara crisis

In Adjara, leader Aslan Abashidze was forced to resign in May 2004 following the Rose Revolution. EU CFSP Chief Javier Solana indicated in February 2007 that the EU could send troops to Georgia alongside Russian forces.[3]

South Ossetia crisis (2006–08)[edit]

The EUMM patrols the South Ossetian administration boundary line in armored SUVs in February 2012.

In July 2006 the European Union referred to then recent developments in South Ossetia zone of and to the Resolution of the Georgian Parliament on Peacekeeping Forces Stationed in the Conflict Zones, which was adopted on 18 July 2006 as follows:

After the 2008 South Ossetia war a EU cease-fire monitoring mission in Georgia (EUMM) was sent to monitor the Russian troop withdrawal from "security zones" established by Russia around South Ossetia and Abkhazia.[5] The mission started on 1 October 2008[6] and was prolonged by the EU in July 2009 for one year while the EU expressed concern that Russia was blocking other observers from working there[7] A United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at extending its UN Observer Mission in Georgia was vetoed by Russia on 15 June 2009.[8]

European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan (2006–11)[edit]

On 2 October 2006, a joint statement on the agreed text of the Georgia-European Union Action Plan within the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was issued. The Action Plan was formally approved at the EU-Georgia Cooperation Council session on 14 November 2006 in Brussels.[9]

Association Agreement (2013–present)[edit]

Georgian flag in front of Council of Europe

To enhance their relationship, the EU and Georgia began negotiating an Association Agreement (AA) and a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.[10] In November 2012, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule stated that the AA negotiations could be finalized by November 2013.[11] In February 2013, Tamar Beruchachvili, the Deputy State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia, stated that Georgia had no plans to join the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia,[12] which Fule has warned Ukraine would be incompatible with the agreements with the EU.[13] A ceremony on the initialling of the AA by the Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton was held at the Eastern Partnership summit on 29 November 2013.[14][15] It was formally signed on 27 June 2014,[16] and had to be ratified by the EU, Euratom, their member states and Georgia. A second agreement, governing the country's involvement in EU crisis management operations, was also signed.[17]

The Association Agreement, much of which provisionally came into force in September, has been fully ratified by Georgia and all EU member states.[18] On 18 December 2014 the European Parliament approved the Association Agreement. Members backed the treaty by 490 votes in favour to 76 against, with 57 abstentions.[19] The agreement entered into force on 1 July 2016.[18]

Old Parliament building in Tbilisi
Georgia-European Union Association Agreement poster in Tbilisi
EU-States which ratified Association Agreement with Georgia

Ratification[edit]

Signatory Date Institution In Favour Against AB Deposited[18] Reference
Austria Austria 8 July 2015 National Council Approved 28 August 2015 [20]
23 July 2015 Federal Council Approved [20]
Presidential Assent Granted
 Belgium
23 April 2015 Chamber of Representatives 101 17 20 1 February 2016 [21][22]
Royal Assent (federal law)
1 July 2015
Walloon
Parliament
(regional)
(community)
63 2 4 [23]
61 2 4 [23]
22 June 2015 German-speaking Community 16 2 1 [24]
24 June 2015 French Community 71 0 8 [25]
20 November 2015 Brussels Regional Parliament 69 3 3 [26][27][28]
20 November 2015
Brussels United
Assembly
[29]
(FR language)
(NL language)
53 3 1 [30][31]
14 0 2 [30][31]
17 June 2015
Flemish
Parliament
(regional)
(community)
82 18 [32]
87 19 [32]
24 June 2015 COCOF Assembly 71 0 8 [33][34]
Bulgaria Bulgaria 24 July 2014 National Assembly 91 0 0 9 September 2014 [35]
28 July 2014 Presidential Assent Granted [36]
Croatia Croatia 12 December 2014 Parliament 116 0 1 24 March 2015 [37]
18 December 2014 Presidential Assent Granted [38]
Cyprus Cyprus 7 May 2015 House of Representatives Approved 18 August 2015 [39]
22 May 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [40]
Czech Republic Czech Republic 18 March 2015 Senate 56 0 6 12 June 2015 [41]
29 April 2015 Chamber of Deputies 116 1 51 [41][42]
19 May 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [43]
Denmark Denmark 18 December 2014 Parliament 101 7 0 18 February 2015 [44]
Estonia Estonia 4 November 2014 Assembly 66 0 0 12 January 2015 [45][46]
13 November 2014 Presidential Assent Granted [45]
European Union European Union and EAEC 18 December 2014 European Parliament 490 76 57 19 April 2016 (EAEC)
23 May 2016 (EU)
[19]
Council of the European Union
Finland Finland 10 March 2015 Parliament Approved 6 May 2015 [47]
24 April 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [48]
France France 29 October 2015 Senate Approved 15 December 2015 [49]
25 June 2015 National Assembly Approved [49]
9 November 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [49]
Germany Germany 8 May 2015 Bundesrat Approved 22 July 2015 [50]
26 March 2015 Bundestag Approved [51]
27 May 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [52]
Georgia (country) Georgia 18 July 2014 Parliament 123 0 0 25 July 2014 [53]
Presidential Assent
Greece Greece 18 November 2015 Parliament Approved 14 December 2015 [54]
24 November 2015 Presidential Promulgation Granted [55]
Hungary Hungary 25 November 2014 National Assembly 127 6 0 7 April 2015 [56]
5 December 2014 Presidential Assent Granted [56]
Republic of Ireland Ireland 27 January 2015 Dáil Éireann 58 19 0 17 April 2015 [57]
Italy Italy 26 November 2015 Senate 202 37 10 3 February 2016 [58]
29 July 2015 Chamber of Deputies 310 93 34 [58]
7 December 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [59]
Latvia Latvia 14 July 2014 Parliament 81 0 0 2 October 2014 [60]
18 July 2014 Presidential Assent Granted [61]
Lithuania Lithuania 8 July 2014 Parliament 84 0 1 29 July 2014 [62]
11 July 2014 Presidential Assent Granted [63]
Luxembourg Luxembourg 18 March 2015 Chamber of Deputies 55 2 0 12 May 2015 [64]
12 April 2015 Grand Ducal Promulgation Granted [65]
Malta Malta 21 August 2014 House of Representatives Approved 29 August 2014 [66][67][68]
Netherlands Netherlands 7 July 2015 Senate Adopted 21 September 2015 [69]
7 April 2015 House of Representatives 119 31 0 [70]
28 July 2015 Royal Promulgation Granted [69]
Poland Poland 5 March 2015 Senate 75 0 0 22 May 2015 [71]
6 February 2015 Sejm 439 0 1 [72][73]
26 March 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [74]
Portugal Portugal 2 April 2015 National Assembly Approved 8 October 2015 [75]
19 May 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [76]
Romania Romania 2 July 2014 Chamber of Deputies 298 0 0 14 July 2014 [77]
3 July 2014 Senate 111 0 2 [78]
9 July 2014 Presidential Assent Granted [79]
Slovakia Slovakia 23 September 2014 National Council 117 0 1 21 October 2014 [80]
16 October 2014 Presidential Assent Granted [81]
Slovenia Slovenia 13 May 2015 National Assembly 69 3 0 27 July 2015 [82][83]
21 May 2015 Presidential Assent Granted [84]
Spain Spain 27 May 2015 Senate Approved 28 July 2015 [85]
30 April 2015 Congress of Deputies 303 0 1 [86]
Royal Assent Granted
Sweden Sweden 26 November 2014 Parliament 249 44 0 9 January 2015 [87]
United Kingdom United Kingdom 23 February 2015 House of Commons Approved 8 April 2015 [88]
9 March 2015 House of Lords Approved [89]
19 March 2015 Royal Assent Order Made [90]

Membership[edit]

The European Parliament passed a resolution in 2014 stating that "in accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as any other European country, have a European perspective and can apply for EU membership in compliance with the principles of democracy, respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, minority rights and ensuring the rule of rights."[91] Membership is welcomed by Georgians, with 77% of the population approving the government's goal to join the EU and only 11% opposing it.[92]

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said at a press conference in Brussels on 27 June 2014 that Georgia could be a full EU member within 5–10 years. However, he stressed that Georgia had not fixed a date for bidding for EU membership.[93]

  Current EU members
  Candidate countries
  Potential candidate countries
  Membership possible

Visa liberalization dialogue[edit]

In June 2012, the EU and Georgia began a visa liberalisation dialogue to allow for visa free travel of Georgian citizens to the European Union. The talks aimed to have a Visa Liberalisation Action Plan in place by the end of the year.[10] The action plan was delivered to Georgia on 25 February 2013.[94] The new project on 'Strengthening the capacity of the Georgian Government in border management and migration regulation' which was launched in Tbilisi by the EU Delegation to Georgia, will be implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), the EU Delegation to Georgia said in its statement on 24 January 2014. Thus, Georgia will take another step towards visa free travel to the Schengen area through an EU-funded project which will help to increase the capacity of the Georgian authorities in the field of integrated border management and migration.[95] In December 2015, the Commission issued a progress report that found that Georgia met all the conditions for its citizens be granted visa free travel to the Schengen area.[96] The European Commission formally proposed Georgia be granted visa free travel in March 2016.[97] The Committee of Permanent Representatives gave its approval in October 2016, and it was approved by the European Parliament in February 2017.[98][99] On March 8th 2017 the Official EU Journal published a legislation allowing Georgians owning biometric passports to travel to the Schengen Area visa-free. [100]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]