The joint sitting of the EU Integration and the Foreign Relations Committees

14 Mar 2019
The joint sitting of the EU Integration and the Foreign Relations Committees

The Committees heard the Foreign Policy Strategy for 2019-2022 and EU integration report introduced by the Foreign Minister, David Zalkaliani.

The Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sophio Katsarava spoke about importance of the foreign policy strategy.

One of the key issues is the foreign policy strategy to be endorsed by the Government and to serve as the document of the national level. Deriving from its importance, we decided to hear the strategy at the Committee. Our Committee, in 2018 endorsed the Committee strategy and action plan and the priorities of these documents are in full compliance with the foreign policy strategy. The strategy also includes the issues relevant for the recent years. I do not mean the priorities concerning the non-recognition policy, occupied territories, EU and NATO integration. The standalone trends and priorities are particularly relevant lately, including the strategic communication. We will hold the special hearing of this issue with the Foreign Ministry and Prime Minister Office”, - S. Katsarava noted.

The Chair of the EU Integration Committee, Tamar Khulordava spoke about the EU-related issues: “The Foreign Ministry coordinates EUAA enforcement oversight in the country, thus we expect the general information from the Ministry about EUAA implementation and EU integration in this regard. EUAA is the extensive document covering various issues and we have the opportunity to discuss every certain direction along with the field specialists and the Ministries. So, today we will hear the information from the Ministry about the political part. We also want to know about coordinated cooperation within the executive authority”.

Recently, Brussels hosted the Georgia-EU Association Council sitting where Georgia introduced the EU integration roadmap. “Importance of this Council is immense and it practically sums up the EU integration progress on annual basis. Hence, naturally for the Parliament is important to hear the information from the Council. We announced the ambitious plan – development of the EU integration roadmap. The society expressed high interest to this document and this sitting is the opportunity to hear more about this direction. We know that this document was submitted at the Council on the principal level and the Parliament and the society wants to hear the information about it”.

According to her, the information about visa liberalization is as well important.

It will be yet another opportunity to hear the claims or the steps made by the executive authority and the plans for maintenance of free travel with EU”. D. Zalkaliani stated that it is the qualitatively new document different from the preceding ones. It is the first document of higher legitimation. “New strategy is in full compliance with the foreign policy priorities with the Resolution of December 29, 2016 of the Parliament and the Governmental Program for 2018-2020 “Freedom, Rapid Development, Welfare”, - he noted.

He stated that in preceding years, the focus was mostly directed to Russia-Georgia confrontation. The strategy for 2019-2022 provides the wider global vision about international processes, challenges and threats. Novelty is positioning of Georgia as the part of the Eastern Europe-Black Sea region.

The previous strategies made the emphasis on Georgia as the part of the South Caucasus region. The new strategy stresses Georgia as an integral part of Europe”. For the first time, the strategic goal envisages EU membership instead of EU integration. The previous documents provided the foreign policy envisaging democratic development. The new strategy emphasizes consolidation of institutional democracy. The Minister spoke aboke about economic role of Georgia as one of the priority directions. “In development of the foreign policy strategy, the key indicator was the complicated international environment we are today in, the challenges Georgia, the region and the world encounters”.

He spoke about the tasks and objectives for upcoming 4 years. The first objective is enhancement of sovereignty and peaceful restoration of territorial integrity.

It requires certain steps: prevention of Russia from annexation of the regions, prevention of escalation of the conflict and provision of peace in place; improvement of protection of the humanitarian situation and rights of the residents of the territorial integrity, provision of peaceful return of the IDPs; reconciliation of the Georgian population on both sides of the occupation line, facilitation to trust-building; enhancement of the non-recognition policy and peaceful resolution of the conflict on the legal basis and the decision of the international courts in favor of Georgia”.

The second objective is EU membership: “Effective implementation of DCFT opportunities, strategic cooperation in security policy; long-term implementation of the visa liberalization action plan, increase of mobility between EU and Georgia and facilitation to circular migration; implementation of the EU integration roadmap etc”. 

The third objective is NATO membership: political dialogue within NATO-Georgia Commission; effective application of annual national program of Georgia; NATO-Georgia substantial package for practical cooperation with NATO; enhancement cooperation with NATO in view of contribution in the Black Sea security etc.

The strategy provides the objectives as follows: consolidation of institutional democracy and enhancement of the positive image of the country abroad; economic development; cooperation with Diaspora and protection of rights of Georgian citizens abroad. “In cooperation with the USA, we emphasized two main directions: defense and security; and free trade agreement”.

The important accents will be made on bilateral cooperation with European countries and cooperation with Germany, France and Great Britain is particularly important. Georgia will keep effective and balanced policy in the region for provision of peace.

The emphasis will be made on bilateral and trilateral formats with Turkey and Azerbaijan, enhancement of neighborhood relations with Armenia, and enhancement of relations with Asia, Oceania, Near East and Africa, Latin America and Caribbean.

The Minister spoke about active diplomacy and strategic communications. “Georgian Government implements strategy of EU and NATO membership communications for 2017-2020 which aims at planning of the uniform Governmental communication policy and implementation thereof at the national and international level”.

The report for 2018 serves for 3 main tasks: manifestation of Georgia as the country of Western values, awareness on the reforms, progress and expected benefit of EU and NATO integration and reduction of anti-Western propaganda.

In 2019, taking the expected events into account, several wide-scale informative campaigns will be held abroad according to: progress of Georgia in EU integration process, including reforming; public awareness on NATO integration; investment, business, export, transit, energy and tourist potential of Georgia etc.

Naturally, first of all we prioritize effective EUAA implementation, increase of trade with EU, diversification of Georgian export production, enhancement of cooperation in security and defense sphere, increase of EU financing and better integration of EU agencies and programs”.

The Minister spoke about EaP as one of the priorities stating that in EUAA implementation terms, Georgia is successful in agenda reforming on legislative and institutional approximation.