TBILISI, Georgia, Feb. 21 (UPI) -- European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger said stronger links with Georgia, a former Soviet republic, would help build a better energy community.
Oettinger met with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in Tbilisi to discuss the implementation of legislation that would bring Georgia into the European Union's energy market.
"Joining the Energy Community will attract investments into Georgia and bring Georgian citizens and businesses closer to the other members of the Energy Community and the European Union," Oettinger said in a statement Thursday.
The Energy Community includes EU members and eight countries on the periphery. Georgia is an observer nation, along with Armenia, Norway and Turkey.
Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili vowed to move Georgia closer to the European Union when he took office last year. Both sides endorsed an association agreement during a European summit in November in Lithuania.
"The opening of the negotiations sends an important signal that Georgia is on its way to develop its energy markets in a sustainable way," Energy Community Secretariat Janez Kopac said in a statement.