Expecting important summit
28 March, 2013
Expecting  important summit
What Should Georgia Expect from Vilnius meeting?

Vilnius Summit is scheduled on June 9-12 in the Lithuanian capital. It is one of the top issues in the foreign policy of Georgia today. Georgians are often quite emotional and their fantasy is rich, attributing some unreal significance to certain occasions. It was one of the main issues at the press conference held at Tbilisi Marriott Hotel last week where Philip Dimitrov, head of the European Union Delegation to Georgia met with
Georgian media.
To the question what Georgia should expect from the summit, the diplomat answered: “You should not try to attribute certain magic importance to the Vilnius Summit. This is actually our first situation in which we not only comment what has to be done, but also assess what has been achieved within the last 4 years of Eastern Partnership. By definition, such situations will inevitably bring forward some problems, issues to be approached to, but at the same time, they will bring to the light success stories if there are any.” He added that it is significant how these achievements are assessed “because it is one of the principles of the Eastern Partnership to treat each country in an individual way.”
To the next question what he thinks about the constitutional amendments, Mr. Dimitrov refrained from answering directly, saying that it is not his business, but said: “I was encouraged by the recent news because they seem to show a step further in finding ways to different players on Georgian political landscape. It is always good when such result is achieved”. Mr. Dimitrov added that from time to time, it is important to feel the unity inside the nation and that these constitutional amendments can be its bright example.
“On the other hand, I understand how important it is to have it done in one way or another but in such a way that shows that political processes in Georgia are developing in a normal way. We always admire those decisions by which powers act on the basis of reason and a kind of cooperation,” Philip Dimitrov noted.
To go back to the Vilnius summit, according to Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, it is difficult to say anything about the conditions in which Georgia will find itself at Vilnius summit. She mentioned that everything depends on the prior and subsequent processes, and the actions implemented by the Georgian executive and legislative bodies. Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgian President, added on his part that it is important that the country maintains its decent shape until the summit takes place.
“I want to congratulate Georgian authorities on their efforts in pursuing the necessary reforms, starting of visa dialogue and making possible of the said Action Plan. This is yet another step towards visa-free travel for Georgian citizens and the shared goal of closer integration between the EU and Georgia”, said Cecilia Malmstrom, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs during her visit in Georgia at the end of February. The Action Plan for Visa Liberalisation deals with document security, border and migration management, public order and security, and external relations issues. Georgian authorities are encouraged to continue pursuing reforms in all areas relevant for the visa liberalisation dialogue, including the battle against corruption and organised crime, data protection, anti-discrimination and protection of minorities, as well as independence of justice system. The European Commission will regularly assess the implementation of each set of benchmarks by Georgia.
The European Commission started a dialogue on visa liberalisation with Georgia in June of last year, and the Action Plan is the main instrument for this dialogue. It allows the EU and the Georgian authorities to examine the preconditions for the introducing visa-free travel for Georgian citizens.
As a first step, Georgia already has a visa facilitation agreement with the EU as for March 2011. The agreement sets a lower visa fee for all Georgian citizens, and waives fees for broad categories of visa applicants such as children, pensioners, students and people visiting family members living in the EU.
Maia Panjikidze, Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that Georgia expects the end of the first stage of visa liberalization process and joining the free trade zone, which would be one more important step towards Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.
Ensuring media pluralism, financial transparency, de-monopolization of the advertising market, labor code, anti-discrimination legislation and cohabitation were other matters of discussion.
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