In order to secure a full range of opinions by all relevant stakeholders in the implementation of the Association Agreements, CEPS and its Georgia partners have during 2019 and now into 2020 been conducting a series of Focus Group sessions on main components of the Agreements. Focus Group consultations so far have covered trade relations, customs services, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phyto-sanitary regulations, financial services, energy policy, and environmental policy. Further Focus Groups are in hand on justice and home affairs, anti-corruption policy and transport policy.
Further work underway is researching the updating of the Agreement, given that the treaty provides for its Annexes that contain legal approximation commitments to be updated with respect to new EU law since the texts were originally adopted. This process whereby the EU and Georgia in their Association Council jointly decide upon revisions to the annexes is only beginning at the official level, but in its own work CEPS is anticipating where the process may or should lead.
This leads on into the subject of upgrading the EU-Georgian relationship, as is requested by Georgia in their submission in late 2019 to the Commission in the framework of its ‘Structured Consultation’ of Eastern Partnership states. While the European Union has not yet responded to these requests, CEPS is currently also at work analysing what propositions are plausible and worthy of support (and in the present context a basis for recommendations).
Finally CEPS is in regular contact with both the government and members of the Georgian parliament (both government and opposition parties) on key political issues, which include integrity of electoral processes and independence of the judiciary. On both these accounts there have been and remain serious problems, with which the briefing paper will duly deal, especially in the context of the forthcoming parliamentary elections to be held in the autumn of 20120. Recommendations will be drawn up, addressed to both the European Union and government of Georgia.