maya panjikidze - Linas Linkevičius 2013-12-12

Foreign Minister of Georgia, Maia Panjikidze, and Foreign Minister of Lithuania, Linas Linkevičius. (Photo published on Facebook.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia Thursday signed a protocol with the EU about participating in several programs within health care, science, culture and business.

The signing took place in Brussels and was carried out by Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and Maia Panjikidze, Foreign Minister of Georgia. Lithuania currently has the presidency of the European Council.

Linkevičius said the EU has never before proposed such a high number of programs for a country in the EU’s neighborhood policy. He said Georgia was offered to participate in programs within health care, science and research, culture and supporting small and medium sized business.

Panjikidze said this is one more step forward to support cooperation between Georgia and EU and Georgia will share the EU’s best practice in different fields.

She said taking part in EU programs will help the Georgian government to implement better reforms in social and economic fields.

During her visit to Brussels, Panjikidze met with Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, to discuss the progress in implementing an action plan that is intended to lead to signing a visa liberalization agreement with the EU.

Pankjikidze said the talks dealt with how to amend legislation to bring it in line with EU standards. She said drafts are being prepared and parliament will review them soon.

“These laws are a precondition for finishing the first phase of the action plan for visa liberalization,” she said, explaining that first phase is about improving legislation.

The second phase is enforcing these laws and implementing them.

“In the end, it will lead us to liberalization, which means visa free rules for Georgian citizens,” she continued.

Georgia presented a report about progress achieved in this area and requested sending a mission in the first half of 2013 in order to check Georgia’s progress.

“We received a promise about sending the mission,” she added.