Report On The Implementation Of The Eu Association Agreement With Georgia

– in view of the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on International Trade (A8-0320/2018), 28. calls on the Commission to support the full implementation of the ALEC through coordinated assistance, with a focus on sustainable economic development, in line with the European Green Agreement, and support for SMEs and structural reforms in cooperation with businesses and civil society, including comprehensive reform of the banking and financial sector to combat money laundering and tax evasion; The report on the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, adopted by the European Parliament by 552 votes against and 61 against, indicates that Georgia continues to work towards the implementation of the Association Agreement and the Comprehensive free trade area (ACFTA) and to continue its alignment with EU standards, which has more and more benefits. Georgia continues to face serious external challenges, including a deteriorating situation in the occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia and cyberattacks linked to Russian actors. The EU remains a staunch supporter of Georgia to ensure respect for its sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders and the fundamental rights of its people. The European Parliament will continue to work closely with the Georgian Parliament, as a direct partner and key player in the implementation of the AA and the CCFTA, through regular inter-parliamentary dialogue and joint institutional support measures. The EU-funded AA facility supports the adoption of bilateral agreements between the European Union and Georgia. It helps the Georgian government to deepen Georgia`s integration into the EU, in line with the priorities of the Association Agreement (AA), including its “Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area” (ACFTA) component, in the Association Programme and in the Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP). 37. Underlines the importance of free and independent media, editorial independence and pluralism and transparency of media ownership as key democratic principles; notes with satisfaction the improvements made to Georgia, which are reflected in the 2018 Reporters Without Borders Global Press Freedom Index; underlines the politicization of media content; recalls the case of the Rustavi 2 television channel; 17. Strongly condemns cyber-attacks on Georgian institutions and media, which are widely attributed to Russian actors; stresses the need to effectively examine and combat foreign disinformation campaigns and propaganda, undermining Georgian institutions and fuelling the polarization of society; calls, therefore, on the Council and the EEAS to strengthen cooperation in the field of cyber security in order to strengthen Georgia`s resilience in this area, to support reforms in media and information skills, and to call on the Georgian Government to cooperate with the EUROPEAN Union institutions on good practices in the fight against disinformation; further urges all Georgian political actors not to use social media to attack individuals, organisations and institutions and to spread deliberate misinformation; takes note of the recent actions taken by social media platforms against accounts and sites that have committed coordinated non-parliamentary behaviour and attacks on the opposition, the media and civil society; In preparation for this report, the Committee on Foreign Affairs commissioned, in addition to its regular and frequent meetings with the Georgian authorities, opposition leaders and civil society representatives, as well as representatives of the European Commission and the EEAS, three expert studies published in the last six months – on electoral reform, the degree of implementation of AAs and the institutional framework for implementation.

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