19 January 2022,   18:29
Oliver Varhelyi is visiting Georgia - what messages did the European Commissioner bring to Tbilisi?

Today, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with Oliver Varhelyi, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement.

During the face-to-face meeting, the parties discussed Georgia’s progress toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration and reforms implemented under the Association Agreement. The meeting pointed out the first half of 2021 as a period of active high-level visits, another demonstration of the excellent relations between the EU and Georgia.

Oliver Varhelyi informed Irakli Garibashvili of the European Union’s recent decision to allocate 3.9 billion euro to Georgia. According to the Prime Minister, this decision is a perfect match for the Georgian Government’s plans and initiatives concerning the vision of the country’s long-term development.

Georgia remains the EU’s committed ally and an important pillar of democracy in the region, the Head of Government said, adding that the political agreement achieved through top-level EU engagement is a clear expression of the EU’s commitment to Georgia’s democratic development.

The meeting also focused on the successful Armenia-Azerbaijan agreement mediated by the Prime Minister of Georgia, as a result of which Azerbaijan released 15 Armenian citizens, and Armenia handed over important maps of mined territories to the Azerbaijani side. According to the Head of Government, Georgia’s assuming the role of a mediator in conflict-resolution marks an important precedent. Irakli Garibashvili reaffirmed his commitment to continuing in the capacity of a mediator in order to encourage dialogue seeking to ensure peaceful conflict-resolution in the region.

The face-to-face meeting was followed by larger-format talks, which underlined the importance of joint EU-Georgia efforts against COVID-19, as well as the special significance of EU support in the process of mass vaccination. The conversation touched on the Georgian Government"s consistent steps toward easing restrictions and gradually resuming tourism, among others. As it was noted, special attention in this process is paid to security and sustainability.

The meeting also discussed important priorities on the Eastern Partnership’s post-2020 agenda, emphasizing the importance of studying the full potential of the Black Sea and taking further steps in this direction. Georgia’s goal is to ensure gradual integration into the single EU market by implementing the DCFTA, and the Government spares no effort to that end, the parties emphasized. According to Irakli Garibashvili, Georgia’s goal is to allow as many Georgian manufacturers as possible to export locally produced goods into the EU market.

The parties also discussed the dire situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. The Prime Minister emphasized the need to ensure the immediate release of Zaza Gakheladze, Irakli Bebua, and all illegally detained Georgian citizens, and the importance of international partners’ efforts in this process.

European Commissioner Varhelyi reaffirmed the EU"s firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Prime Minister singled out the EU’s role in the peaceful regulation of the Russia-Georgia conflict, including through co-chairing the Geneva International Discussions.