EP Approves Association With Georgia, Calls Russia to WithdrawEU | December 19, 2014, Friday // 13:39| views
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili (L) holds a press briefing with EU Parliament President Martin Schulz (R), after a meeting at the EU Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, 18 November 2014. Photo: EPA
The European Parliament (EP) approved the EU-Georgia Association Agreement (AA) on Thursday.
The AA provides for the establishment of deep political association and economic integration between the EU and Georgia, including the opening of their markets.
This is the third AA in a row which the EP ratifies with its Eastern neighbours, the previous two being with Ukraine and Moldova.
The Parliament approved the agreement with an overwhelming majority – 490 votes in favour, 76 against, with 57 abstentions.
Rapporteur Andrejs Mamikins said that the ratification represented a new chapter in the EU's relationship with Georgia.
Mamikins welcomed the recent reforms in Georgia, especially in its judiciary, which signaled the society's desire for democratisation and European integration.
In an accompanying resolution, the Parliament highlighted that the agreement applies for the entire internationally recognised territory of Georgia, including the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The resolution was adopted with a similarly large majority – 491 votes in favour, 84 against, with 63 abstentions.
The EP condemned the alliance and strategic partnership between Abkhazia and Russia as a step towards the region's full annexation, calling on Russia to withdraw it.
Parliament also noted that like any other European state, Georgia also holds prospects of becoming an EU member state, in case the necessary membership criteria are fulfilled.
The EP called on Georgia to end selective and political use of justice, and to work towards society of pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance and gender equality.