A newly appointed EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell has spoken about Georgia-EU relations and the fundamental issues in the relations during his welcome meeting with Georgian media representatives on Thursday.
EU Ambassador Speaks About “Fundamental Georgia-EU Issues” with media
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 19
Responding to the Messenger question about the most challenging directions in the Georgia-EU relations, Hartzell responded that Georgia is on the right path, but there are the issues which need to be addressed through joint cooperation.
The ambassador said that the judicial and the media issues are at the top of interest of the EU.
He also mentioned the importance of the education reform and the rural development of the country.
On the Messenger question whether the country is ready for the EU membership, the ambassador responded: “no, Georgia is not ready.”
He said that the agreements signed with Georgia, including the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, aim to bring the country closer to the EU.
Hartzell says that Georgia’s EU membership is dependent both on Georgian efforts and the situation in the EU concerning enlargement.
The ambassador, who was asked about the leakage of recordings discrediting the government, as well as the case of Azeri journalist Afghan Mukhtarli who disappeared from Tbilisi last year in unclear circumstances, responded that he was waiting for the end of investigations regarding such issues.
He stated that Georgia is the frontrunner among the Eastern Partnership countries for now. However, the EU will become critical if it sees that fundamental issues are not responded appropriately in the country.
Several media representatives asked Hartzell to help include media organizations in the EU-supported programs for small and medium-sized businesses, on which the ambassador said that the issue will be pushed forward by him.
Hartzell replaced Janos Herman in the role.