The 1st and inaugural meeting of the EU-Georgia Civil Society Platform (CSP) was held on 16th June 2016 in Tbilisi and was co-chaired by Andrzej Adamczyk, member of the European Economic and Social Committee, and Kakha Gogolashvili, chairman of the Georgian National Platform at the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.
The participants in the first CSP meeting adopted a joint declaration assessing the state of play of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement's implementation and acknowledging the considerable progress achieved by Georgia since the beginning of the Association process. Nevertheless, they called on the Georgian government to take rigorous steps to further ensure protection of human rights and freedoms and enhance independence, transparency and accountability of the judiciary, as the most pressing aspect in the area of rule of law.
At the opening of the meeting, Kakha Gogolashvili, CSP co-Chair from the Georgian side, said: "The activity of this Platform will determine its success in terms of the contribution it will bring to the implementation process of the Association Agreement".
"We are very proud of having launched this Platform that will bring the necessary civil society point of view to EU-Georgia relations", said Andrzej Adamczyk, co-Chair of the CSP from the EU side. "From the EESC perspective, we have today completed the three mandates that we received in the three Association Agreements with the Eastern Partnership countries, thus fully playing our role as representatives of EU civil society and as an institution committed to contributing to the EU's external policy."
"The Association Agreement / DCFTA process being an integral part of Georgia’s European integration, the added value of this Platform will be the strong participation of civil society actors on the European side, sharing their experience in approximating their national legislations with the EU acquis", pointed out David Bakradze, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia.
János Herman, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, noted the important timing of the launch of this Platform in view of the entry into force of the Association Agreement as of 1st July and congratulated Georgia on the remarkable progress achieved in the implementation process so far. "The Georgian civil society should take full advantage of the Civil Society Facility which the EU is providing to Georgia. Strengthening rule of law, democracy, promoting human rights and commercial and trade contacts, as well as ensuring proper functioning of the social dialogue, will all be topics of importance for the Platform", he said.
The Platform is one of the bodies set up within the framework of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia. It enables civil society organizations from both sides to monitor the implementation process and prepare recommendations to the relevant authorities both in the Georgia as well as in the European Union.
The CSP enables its 18 members, who represent European civil society networks and civil society organisations from Georgia, to discuss issues of common interest.