The progress of reform in food safety and consumer protection in Georgia and Moldova since the two countries signed Association Agreements (AA) with the EU was in focus of a conference in the Georgian capital Tbilisi last week.
Organised by the Europe Foundation in Georgia, the event is part of an EU-funded project on transparent convergence of Georgia and Moldova to EU policies in sanitary issues.
The event was attended by European, Georgian, and Moldovan experts, who looked at the progress in implementing their AAs with the EU in the area of food safety and consumer protection, as well as representatives of the European Commission, European Food Safety Authority, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, and Estonian Dairy Association.
According to the EU Delegation to Georgia, discussions focused on food safety control systems, transparency of food enterprise inspections, civil society participation in reforms, risk assessment in the sanitary and phyto-sanitary field (SPS), as well as cooperation between public institutions working on food safety and consumer protection issues. The event also focused on the challenges and opportunities posed by SPS reforms in both countries.
According to the European Union, by signing the Association Agreements, the relations of Georgia and Moldova with the Union have moved into a new phase, as the AAs and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) envision comprehensive legal and economic reforms so as to bring the two countries closer to Europe. The food safety and consumer protection fields have been greatly impacted by these developments, with both Georgia and Moldova implementing reforms to approximate SPS legislation and practices with those of the EU.