European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has said that Georgia had made "great steps" in the implementation of a political and trade agreement with the bloc.
The Association Agreement "provides the basis for our political association and our economic integration," Mogherini said in Brussels on March 5 following a meeting of the EU-Georgia Association Council.
The agreement, which includes a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), entered fully into force in 2016.
Mogherini told a press conference that the EU is "fully committed to exploring the full potential of our partnership, including the export and growth potential offered" by the DCFTA.
The Brussels gathering was also attended by Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, and EU Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Commissioner Johannes Hahn.
Hahn said that the DCFTA allows for "work on the economic development, on better living conditions for citizens, and I think this is for the short and medium-term perspective the most important thing. And if so to say this gap can be narrowed down, I think then we can look into next steps."
Bakhtadze said that Tbilisi values the EU’s "firm support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and [its] contribution to maintaining and monitoring the mission in Georgia.
The country of some 3.7 million people fought a brief war with Russia in August 2008, and Moscow’s continued military presence in the country’s territory adds to tensions in the region."
After the war, Russia left thousands of troops in Georgia’s breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia and recognized both as independent countries.