EU adopted decision to launch negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Georgia
On December 5, 2011 the EU adopted decision to launch negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with Georgia. The DCFTA is an important component of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
The negotiations will cover a wide range of trade-related and economic issues, that will foster Georgia’s deeper economic integration with the EU.
The EU decision was taken on the basis of sufficient progress reached by Georgia in implementation of relevant reforms and conditions for the start of the mentioned negotiations.
According to Mr. De Gucht, the Commissioner for Trade, “A deep and comprehensive free trade area will help Georgia … to become more competitive and enjoy the benefits of the EU Single Market”.
Information on EU relevant decision could be found at: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/press/index.cfm?id=760.
5 December 2011
Press and Information Department
On 14 November at the European Union’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Ažubalis stressed that the EU’s support – closer political cooperation, economic integration and financial support – was especially necessary to the countries that had embarked on the path of democracy. The meeting focused on the situation in the EU’s Southern neighbours: Tunisia, Libya and Syria.
During the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, at Lithuania’s initiative foreign ministers of eight EU member states signed a letter addressed to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle and Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström. The letter draws their attention to Georgia’s progress in implementing the EU recommendations for the preparation for the negotiations on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, and for the opening of the visa dialogue. The European Commission is invited to open negotiations with Georgia on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement before the end of this year, and to launch the visa dialogue with Georgia already in the beginning of 2012. The letter was signed by Foreign Ministers of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
For Czech Republic long-term (more than 90 days) visas, citizens of Georgia have to register using a new on-line system “VISAPOINT” www.visapoint.eu. Registration is necessary for applications for Czech visas over 90 days and residence permits for the Czech Republic. This site is solely to register for appointments – applications must be lodged separately at the Embassy/Consulate.
HR Ashton visited Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia between 15 and 17 November, meeting the three presidents, as well as other key political figures. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton is emphasising the EU’s commitment to strengthening relations with the countries of the South Caucasus with a three-day visit to the region. Her main message is the EU’s commitment to deeper regional integration and closer relations. New links have been forged with each country with the launch of the Eastern Partnership, and negotiations onAssociation Agreements.
EU relations with Georgia are deepening, with political association and economic integration high on the agenda. Negotiations on an Association Agreement are making good progress, and talks will start soon on a ‘Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area’ (DCFTA). Visa facilitation and readmission agreements entered into force in March 2011.
C category Shengen visas will be issued for Georgian citizens at the Embassy of Swiss Confederation in Tbilisi . Issue of the visas, allowing 90-day visit to Shengen countries, will start from 1 October, Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Jalaghania has said at a press conference today.
According to Jalaghania, earlier citizens had to go to Baku or Kiev to acquire such visas from the Embassy of Austria.
As for D category Shengen visas, they can be obtained at the Embassy of Austria in Baku.
On September 9 representatives of Georgian civil society and media gathered in CIPDD to discuss prospects for visa liberalization between EU and Georgia and advocacy plans for supporting this process. In the first half of the workshop Macedonian guest speaker Dr. Zhidas Daskalovski (School of Public Policy “Mother Theresa) made an introduction to advocacy techniques in public policy process. Dr. Marija Risteska (Center for Research and Policy Making CRPM) talked about Macedonian visa liberalization advocacy experience and best practices in monitoring of Road Map implementation. The second half of the meeting was dedicated to discussion about Georgia’s prospects for visa liberalization, current state of art and plans for visa liberalization advocacy.
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On September 9 CIPDD is hosting a workshop ‘Transfer of Macedonia NGOs experience on visa liberalization’. The event is part of the PASOS-CIPDD project Paving the Road towards Visa-free Travel between the Eastern Partnership countries and the EU supported by the Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI) of Open Society Foundations.
European initative - Liberal Academy Tbilisi published its first interim report on Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements between Georgia and the EU that recapped the first four months of the research, aiming to ultimately gauge on and advocate for Georgia’s visa-free future with the EU.
The first interim report (in Georgian) spelled out the major pillars of these ‘twin’ agreements that entered into force on 1 March 2011, singled out the concrete commitments and responsibilities of the signatories, explored what does it mean in practical terms for immediate stakeholders and presented the observations how the agreements are implemented three months after their enactment.
More about the report at http://www.ei-lat.ge/
The policy brief Eastern neighbors join the race for visa-free travel to the EU by Dr. Marija Risteska provides a comparative overview of the state of play in the visa liberalization process in each of the six EaP countries. It also provides analysis of the state of political will in terms of supporting or opposing this process.