On 15 October in Luxembourg, the EU Foreign Ministers welcomed Georgia’s parliamentary elections, which were an important step in consolidating the country’s democracy. The Council confirmed the EU’s engagement to work towards political association and economic integration with Georgia, and reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to the shared objective of visa free travel, provided that all the necessary conditions were in place.
“Lithuania will continue to support Georgia’s aspirations of European integration. Together with the country’s new Government, we will continue to strive to make better use of Lithuania’s forthcoming Presidency of the EU Council and the next Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius,” Lithuanian Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Evaldas Ignatavičius said at the Foreign Affairs Council.
The Council called on all Georgian state institutions and political parties to work together constructively with a view to assuring the rule of law, human rights and good governance. The Ministers said that they stood ready to provide support to the new Georgian administration, and to continue technical dialogue, with a view to ensuring continuity in the negotiations of an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, and in measures taken in the context of the on-going visa dialogue.
Ignatavičius requested the European Commission to allocate as soon as possible funding for the High-Level Advisory Group that would help the new Georgian administration to maintain the momentum for convergence with the EU.
The Council also discussed elections in other countries of the Eastern Partnership - Belarus and Ukraine. The Council remained gravely concerned about the lack of respect for human rights in Belarus and decided to prolong the existing restrictive measures for another year.
Lithuanian Foreign Vice-Minister underlined that the EU should strive for more visibility in Belarusian society and to continue to facilitate travel for ordinary citizens.
He added that it was necessary to prevent increasing Ukraine’s isolation and called on the Ministers to review the EU’s relations with this country shortly after parliamentary elections in Ukraine.
When discussing the situation in Syria, Ignatavičius expressed concern about the impact of the crisis on the stability of neighbouring countries and called on the international community and, first of all, on members of the United Nations Security Council to unite their efforts increasing pressure on the regime.
The Ministers also welcomed new sanctions on Iran. Even though some of the restrictive measures may have adverse effects on the economies of the EU member states, Ignatavičiaus pointed out that it was now important for the Iranian regime to send a strong political message about its political unity with the EU.
On the eve of the Council, the Vice-Minister attended the EU Ministers’ meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov. The meeting discussed issues related to Syria, Iran, Moldova and Georgia.