Georgia, Tbilisi, Feb.28 /Trend N.Kirtzkhalia/
The presentation of commencement of negotiations between Georgia and the EU on a comprehensive free trade was held in Tbilisi on Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Georgia Nika Gilauri and the European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht said at a joint press conference after the meeting.
They said the negotiations will continue 18-24 months, but emphasized that it is not rigidly fixed term.
Nika Gilauri noted that Georgia has established a negotiating group of 60 people.
"They're ready for talks, which start on March 26-30 in Brussels," Gilauri said.
Gilauri said four rounds of talks between Georgia and the EU will be held this year.
"We carried out reforms in order to approach these negotiations. It includes food safety and creating a competition agency and, if necessary, we are ready to go further," Gilauri said, noting that the agreement is a vital event for Georgia.
Gilauri thanked the EU for assistance in carrying out reforms and the achieving competitiveness of the Georgian market. "This path was not easy for Georgia, but we were able to make progress. Signing of the contract will allow us to develop the economy and get more investment," Gilauri said.
Gucht in turn congratulated the Georgian side with the commencement of negotiations.
"I met with President Mikheil Saakashvili earlier and noted that it is a big success for Georgia, and much has already been done in this way, but much remains to be done," Gilauri said.
Gucht noted that the Georgian side has introduced the "ambitious schedule" of negotiations today.
"Today is a watershed in relations between Georgia and the EU, which must undergo a qualitative change. Georgia got a chance and has to use it" Gucht said.
Gucht urged the Georgian authorities to continue reforms to diversify the market that will ensure its competitiveness.