The 5th Eastern Partnership Summit took place on November 24th in Brussels, bringing together 28 EU and 6 Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia. All leaders agreed on the 5th Eastern Partnership Summit joint declaration, reconfirming the high importance of the Eastern Partnership initiative and acknowledging “the European aspirations and European choice” of associated countries.
Leaders highlighted the need for “renewed efforts to promote the peaceful settlement of unresolved conflicts in the region,” reaffirming the European Union’s support for the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence of its partners.
The summit also discussed the four key areas of cooperation aiming to improve the lives of citizens across the Eastern Partnership countries. These were agreed on at the 2015 EaP summit in Riga, and include:
- Stronger economy: economic development and better market opportunities;
- Stronger governance: strengthening of institutions and good governance;
- Stronger connectivity: enhancing connectivity, notably in the areas of transport and energy, as well as environment and climate change;
- Stronger society: increasing mobility and contacts between people.
In addition to these points, the new declaration stressed the importance of leaders' engagement in fostering mobility and empowering youth, as well as the need to further support independent media and expose disinformation.
Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili attended the summit in Brussels. He stated there was full consensus on Georgia’s success which is extremely important and a motivating factor for Georgia to keep working on its progress and reforms.
In 2014, Georgia signed an Association Agreement with EU, making commitments in the areas of democracy and the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, good governance, a market economy and sustainable development. According to the European Commission, “by removing customs tariffs and quotas and by comprehensively approximating trade-related laws and regulations to the standards of the European Union, the Agreement offers Georgia a framework for boosting trade and economic growth.” The Association Agreement fully entered into force in July 2016.
In March 2017, Georgia was granted visa liberalisation with the Schengen area, allowing visa-free travel for Georgian citizens to the Schengen area. As noted by Commissioner Avramopoulos of the European Commission, such reforms “bring Georgia closer to the EU standards, facilitating cooperation with the European Union and bringing the country a step forward on its European path.”