Policy Dialogue on Georgia held at the European Parliament on 27 September 2016

_O8A2781_originalMore than one hundred members of the European parliament, representatives from the European Commission, NATO, the European External Action Service, representatives of missions of the member states to the EU, and representatives from civil society and the business community, on Tuesday (27 September) discussed Georgia during a Policy Dialogue held at the European parliament.

The policy dialogue on the theme “Georgia: Recognising achievements, consolidating reforms and addressing future challenges and aspirations” was organised by the European Policy Centre and LINKS (Dialogue Analysis and Research) under the patronage of the S and D Group in the European Parliament. It was chaired and hosted by Andrej Mamikins, MEP from Latvia.

Addressing the event Finnish MEP and Chair of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, Heidi Hautala praised Georgia’s commitment to fulfill the requirements of the Association Agreement that it signed with the European Union, and emphasised that the agreement was a powerful instrument that must work for the Georgian people. “The political will in Georgia to implement reforms is admirable and exemplary”, Hautala said. She praised the engagement of Georgian civil society organisations, and spoke about their role as “watchdogs”.

Turning to the EU, Hautala said that the European Parliament is trying to give practical support to the process of Georgia’s European integration. She said that it was unfortunate that the issue of visa liberalisation for Georgians had become hostage to politics within the member states, and said that the European Parliament should push for an early resolution of this issue.

Hautala joined other speakers in calling for caution against complacency in both Georgia and in the EU, and said that Georgia needed a peaceful political climate in order that it may start reaping the benefits of its reform efforts.