Press statement by President Donald Tusk after the meeting with Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili
European Council President Spokesperson
Today I had the pleasure to meet Mr. Kvirikashvili for the first time in his capacity as Prime Minister of Georgia. Let me again welcome you here, Giorgi, and congratulate you on your appointment.
The European Union and Georgia are true partners. As the Association Agreement enters fully into force, we will be able to cooperate even more comprehensively in implementing Georgia's political association and economic integration with the EU.
Today we discussed a broad range of issues. We talked about the upcoming parliamentary elections in Georgia. And we agree that a free and pluralistic media environment, and an open and vibrant political environment, are prerequisites for success.
Continued reforms of the judiciary, rule of law and human rights are important priorities and I underlined the EU's readiness to assist. It is crucial that criminal investigations and prosecutions be evidence-based, transparent and impartial, in line with the commitments of the Association Agreement.
We also discussed at length the issue of visa-free travel for Georgian citizens. Let me congratulate Georgia on the outstanding reforms undertaken in this process. Georgia has fulfilled all the benchmarks of the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan. It is now for the Council and the European Parliament to bring this process to a successful conclusion.
The European Union will continue to give its firm support for the territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognised borders.
I share Georgia's concerns about the continued implementation of the so-called “treaties" between Russia and Abkhazia and South Ossetia. I saw for myself the situation at the administrative boundary line, including the "borderisation" process, during my last visit to Georgia.
I also expressed our strong appreciation for Georgia's important contribution to EU crisis management operations and missions, including to our missions and operations in the Central African Republic, Ukraine and Mali.
Finally, let me add a comment on Russia whose actions in Syria are making an already very bad situation even worse. As a direct consequence of the Russian military campaign, the murderous Assad regime is gaining ground, the moderate Syrian opposition is losing ground, and thousands more refugees are fleeing towards Turkey and Europe.