José Manuel Durão Barroso
President of the European Commission
Statement following the meeting with Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri
Brussels, 17 March 2010
Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to welcome Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri.
This was a very useful and very constructive meeting, the one that we just had. And it was an opportunity for me to reaffirm our strong commitment to stability and democracy in Georgia and our firm support for Georgia's territorial integrity and conflict resolution efforts.
Our relations with Georgia have gone into a higher gear.
Preparations for negotiations on the future Association Agreement are in their final phase and the negotiations could hopefully start soon. An important part of this Agreement will be the possibility to establish a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). This calls for Georgia to fully address key trade-related recommendations made by the Commission. And today the Prime Minister had several meetings in the Commission where we have expressed to him exactly what points we believe should be addressed.
Let me underline that on the energy front, we appreciate very much the constructive role Georgia has played in developing transit routes for energy supplies to the EU and Western Europe and I look forward to our enhanced energy dialogue with the creation of the new Subcommittee on Energy, Environment and Transport.
I also welcome Georgia's recent adoption of the State Strategy on engagement with occupied territories. This testifies Georgia's efforts to ease tensions and solve the conflict through peaceful means and diplomacy. In this regard, the continuation of the Geneva talks is of key importance and all participants must deliver.
Our relations can be even more productive and rewarding if they are based on shared interests and shared values. And I want to underline the word "values".
Democratic reforms are crucial. Georgia has already made important achievements. I think of progress in eradicating corruption and reforming the justice sector, for example. We are hopeful that intensive work will proceed to consolidate democratic institutions, create an inclusive political culture and ensure full media freedom.
The upcoming local elections will be an opportunity for Georgia to demonstrate further its commitment to political pluralism and international standards for free and fair elections. I am confident Georgia will seize it.
And just after this meeting receiving the analysis of Prime Minister Gilauri I am even more confident and I really want to encourage him and the Georgian authorities on the path of consolidation of democratic reform in his country, so that we can even progress in a closer relationship between the EU and Georgia.