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European Neighbourhood Policy: Georgia

European Neighbourhood Policy: Georgia

The European Commission is recommending a significant intensification of relations with Georgia, through the development of an Action Plan under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). This recommendation is based on the Commission’s Country Report published today, which provides a comprehensive overview of the political and economic situation in Georgia and the state of its bilateral relations with the European Union. The ENP goes beyond the existing Partnership and Co operation Agreement to offer the prospect of an increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation. It is now for the Council of Ministers to decide the next steps.

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commented “The European Neighbourhood Policy gives us an opportunity to take relations with Georgia up a gear. I very much hope that the Council will give the go ahead to negotiate an Action Plan, so that we can work out a joint agenda for action in the coming years. Progress in our relationship will reflect the efforts and successes of the country itself”.

In June 2004, Georgia (together with Armenia and Azerbaijan) was included in the European Neighbourhood Policy, at its request and following a recommendation made by the European Commission. The Commission was invited to report on progress made by each country with regard to political and economic reforms. Today, the Commission provides an assessment of bilateral relations between the EU and Georgia, reflecting progress under the existing Partnership and Co-operation Agreement and describing the current situation in areas of particular interest for the ENP partnership: the development of political institutions based on the values – democracy, the rule of law, human rights – enshrined in the Agreement; regional stability and co-operation in justice and home affairs; and economic and social reforms that will create new opportunities for development and modernisation, for further liberalisation of trade and for gradual participation in the Internal Market.

Key objectives for an Action Plan should include:

• Strengthening respect for the rule of law (reform of judiciary, law enforcement agencies, penitentiary) and enhanced human rights protection

• Strengthening of democratic structures and pluralism (reform of parliament, strengthening independence of media, reform of local self government, electoral reform)

• Improvements in the business climate as well as public sector modernisation

• Reform of tax and customs administrations and legislation and strengthening the fight against corruption and fraud

• A transparent privatisation process

• Progress in poverty reduction, sustainable development; environmental protection

• Progress in the resolution of conflicts and enhanced regional cooperation.

• Prudent macroeconomic policies need to be maintained to support effective implementation of an Action Plan.

For more information on the European Neighbourhood Policy:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/world/enp/index_en.htm

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