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Ūkio ministro kalba Gruzijoje vykusioje konferencijoje „Ekonominė integracija į Europos Sąjungą: perspektyvos ir galimybės“


2014 03 31



Prime Minister of Georgia Mr. Irakli Garibashvili,

Your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to be here in Georgia and address you on behalf of the Prime Minister of Lithuania. He asked me to convey his best wishes for the conference and his apologies for not taking part in this important event because of unexpected changes in his agenda.

Today we face complex political situation in Europe. Lithuania condemns the signing on 18 March 2014 of the agreement between the Russian Federation, Ukraine’s Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Ukrainian city of Sevastopol. Lithuania considers this action a serious violation of international law.  Russia’s action is an illegal annexation of the Ukrainian sovereign territory. We do not recognise the illegal joining of some territory of sovereign Ukraine to the Russian Federation.

We reiterate our strong support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Also, we urge the international community not to recognise Crimea’s annexation and to condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

I want to encourage Georgia to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Eastern Partnership. The successful signing and implementation of the Association Agreement can help Euro-Atlantic integration and greater political and economic security for your country.

I am very glad to observe that Georgia seeks to reinforce its ties with the European Union. At the Vilnius Summit last November, Georgia, together with the EU, took a historic step forward. They initialled the Association Agreement, which includes the part on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area.

I am sure that the current Georgian government will successfully continue with young and promising democracy path to Europe. It is also important to remain focused on signing the EU Association Agreement this year.

Soon the Agreement will be prepared for signature. I believe that this historical opportunity will become real – Georgia will come closer to the EU.  And I do not speak in geographic terms. The important part is that the country will start following the same values that lie at the heart of the European family.

I would like to stress that  the Association Agreement aims at further deepening of the political and economic relations between the EU and Georgia. It will introduce reforms that will bring Georgia closer to the EU in political, economic and social terms. I also take this opportunity to recall that in 1995 Lithuania concluded a free trade agreement with the EU. It was the first step of our European integration process. Since then, our exports to the EU have increased by more than 20 times. The EU share in our exports nearly tripled. But – more importantly – we accepted the EU acquis. It was developed for 50 years to promote international competitiveness of the Member States. And this was a powerful tool to modernise our economy and boost growth. Now, for two years in turn, Lithuania has been classified by the World Bank as a high income country.

In favour of the Association Agreement, I would like to underline that it promotes independent economic policies and enables economic reforms. Moreover, the Agreement, and in particular its part on Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area – the so called DCFTA – seeks to create a modern, transparent and predictable environment. This is important for consumers, investors and business people in both markets.

I am sure you all agree that the development of competitive economy is one of the key factors in further economic expansion of Georgia. This cannot be achieved without foreign direct investment. We all know that capital markets and foreign investors appreciate predictability, stability and transparency. These factors are important to lower the risks. The set of reforms resulting from the Association Agreement could lead to Georgia as a favourable investment location.

An independent study predicts that the DCFTA will increase Georgia’s export to the EU by 12% and import by 7.5%. Georgia’s GDP could increase by 4.3% or €292 million in the long term. But to achieve this the DCFTA needs to be fully implemented with its effects – sustained.

It is necessary to take into consideration the outside pressure and obstacles that Georgia faces in the process of integration with Europe. We need to clearly understand which factors may increase Georgia’s economic integration with the EU. Today’s conference is a good opportunity to re-examine possible effects of the DCFTA. We also need to understand that the way to economic reforms is challenging. But great opportunities are always accompanied by big challenges.  Let me express my strong belief that the closer association between Georgia and the EU will be a success. Moreover, it will be a great benefit for all of us.

To conclude, I wish you a good mood for work and of course, active and fruitful discussions.