Minister for Europe David Lidington:
I wish to inform the House that the Government have opted in to the following measures:
(i) Council Decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application, of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part.
(ii) Council Decision on the conclusion of the Association Agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part.
The EU-Georgia Association Agreement constitutes a reform agenda for Georgia, based around a comprehensive programme to more closely align their legislation to EU norms, focusing on support to core reforms including economic recovery and growth, governance and co-operation in a wide range of sectors. This will help to ensure a stable and prosperous region, which is in the UK’s national interest.
The Council Decisions approving the EU’s signature and conclusion of the EU-Georgia Association agreement give approval to the EU to sign and conclude provisions covered by Title V of the TFEU, in particular, in respect of provisions related to the temporary presence of natural persons for business (Mode 4) and to the readmission of persons. The UK’s Justice and Home Affairs opt in has been triggered as a result. The Government has decided that it is in the UK’s best interests to opt into these Council Decisions.
When making this decision, the Government took into consideration that the UK already participates in the existing re-admission agreement between the EU and Georgia and as such it is appropriate that we now opt-into the new provisions which require the parties to ensure the full implementation of that agreement.
The Mode 4 provisions are in line with the EU’s Doha round offer to the World Trade Organisation and are subject to rigorous safeguards, including minimum skills levels.
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