Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze, who chaired the Georgian delegation at the EU-Georgia Association Council in Brussels, noted that the meeting participants positively assessed EU-Georgian relations and the implementation of the Association Agreement by Georgia.

“We had indeed a very fruitful meeting today and we were able to discuss the great progress we have made in the wide range of issues of our cooperation agenda. We discussed the implementation of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement,” Bakhtadze said at the joint press conference with Federica Mogherini, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The PM noted that Georgia continues to bring its institutional and legislative system in line with the EU norms and standards, adding the peaceful resolution of the Russia-Georgia conflict and the occupation of Georgian territories were among the main issues.

“We discussed the ongoing occupation of the Georgian territories by Russia, the importance of peaceful resolution of the conflict and our response to all the grievous human rights violations, including the cruel killings of our citizens. We discussed the new peaceful initiative – A Step to a Better Future and the significance of our joint efforts for its implementation. We strongly believe in people-to-people relations,” he said, adding Georgia values EU’s firm support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Bakhtadze added that the sides also discussed the progress made in terms of reforming the Georgian judiciary system, as well as the steps to be taken to ensure the smooth functioning of the visa-free regime.

“Our trade relations with the EU are steadily increasing. Our businesses are greatly benefiting from the opportunities offered by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area Agreement. At the meeting we discussed the concrete steps aimed at promoting Georgian products on the EU market and enhancing our economic relations,” he stated.

The PM added that the Georgian side presented its EU integration road map at the meeting.

“We also had a very productive exchange on sectoral cooperation. We value the EU support and engagement in modernizing Georgia’s educational system, particularly the vocational education. Quality education is essential in building human capital. Achieving sustainable economic growth through investing in modern education and human capital development is the main priority of our government,” he underlined.

 By Thea Morrison

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