Previously, this year I mentioned an event what might change future of South Caucasus region - Georgia has signed Association Agreement with European Union.
Now was turn to European Parliament ratify it as well, and it did happened on December 18th.
The European Parliament gave its green light to the EU-Georgia Association Agreement on Thursday. The deal will establish deep political association and economic integration between the EU and Georgia, including the progressive opening up of their respective markets.
Georgia's President Giorgi Margvelashvili, EP Vice-President Ryszard Czarnecki and EP rapporteur Andrejs Mamikins (on the left) at a joint press conference prior to the vote© EU 2014 - European Parliement
The deal is the third in a new series of association agreements that the European Parliament has been asked to ratify, after those with Ukraine and Moldova. It was approved by 490 votes to 76, with 57 abstentions.
"The European Parliament’s ratification of the Association Agreement with Georgia has opened a new chapter in European Union relations with Georgia", said rapporteur Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, LV). "Georgia has made significant progress in reforms and strengthening its relations with the EU. We welcome recent judicial reforms designed to strengthen Georgia’s democratic institutions and support the efforts of Georgian society to achieve further democratisation. Although much work remains to be done, experience shows that Georgians prefer to solve their problems, not to avoid them. I think that Europe should now show its real solidarity with Georgia and its people", he added.
Russian pressure on Abkhazia
In an accompanying resolution, approved 491 votes to 84, with 63 abstentions, MEPs stress that the agreement covers the entire internationally recognised territory of Georgia, although Russia continues to occupy the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The European Parliament condemns the conclusion of the “so called alliance and strategic partnership” treaty between Abkhazia and Russia as a step towards the full annexation of Abkhazia; and calls upon Russia to withdraw it.
Parliament also notes that Georgia has made significant progress in reforms and that like any other European state, it has EU membership prospects if the conditions are met. However, it urges Georgia to consolidate the reforms, end selective and political use of justice and work towards a society of pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, solidarity and equality between women and men.