The European Parliament has voted by an overwhelming majority to ratify the EU-Georgia Association Agreement on Thursday. The deal will establish deep political association and economic integration between the EU and Georgia, including the progressive opening up of their respective markets. It was approved by 490 votes to 76, with 57 abstentions.
"The European Parliament's ratification of the Association Agreement with Georgia has opened a new chapter in European Union relations with Georgia", said rapporteur Andrejs Mamikins. "Georgia has made significant progress in reforms and strengthening its relations with the EU. We welcome recent judicial reforms designed to strengthen Georgia's democratic institutions and support the efforts of Georgian society to achieve further democratisation. Although much work remains to be done, experience shows that Georgians prefer to solve their problems, not to avoid them. I think that Europe should now show its real solidarity with Georgia and its people", he added.
In an accompanying resolution, approved 491 votes to 84, with 63 abstentions, MEPs stress that the agreement covers the entire internationally recognised territory of Georgia, although Russia continues to occupy the regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
The European Parliament condemns the conclusion of the "so called alliance and strategic partnership" treaty between Abkhazia and Russia as a step towards the full annexation of Abkhazia; and calls upon Russia to withdraw it.
Parliament also notes that Georgia has made significant progress in reforms and that like any other European state, it has EU membership prospects if the conditions are met. However, it urges Georgia to consolidate the reforms, end selective and political use of justice and work towards a society of pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, solidarity and equality between women and men.
Commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment that the vote in the parliament confirms that Europe's support for Georgıa's European asspirations are not limited to the bureaucrats in Brussles but has the support of the five hundred million citizens of Europe represented in the parliament. The vote is clear and unambiguous. We will go forward together!.
photo: European Parliament in session (archive picture)
Ivanishvili, the founder of the Georgian Dream party, the political movement that has led Georgia since 2012, will return to the centre-stage of Georgian politics, assuming the role of party chairman. The move is expected to take place at the party congress on in May.