Saakashvili in Marseilles to Thank European People's Party for Support
By Messenger Staff
Friday, December 9On December 8 Mikheil Saakashvili, President of Georgia, held a speech at the congress of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Marseille, France. Saakashvili highlighted Russia’s policy in Georgia's occupied territories saying that Russia has no resources to maintain the occupation.
“You all know that the Russian Federation occupies militarily 20% of our territory, in violation of the August 12th cease-fire agreement and of international law. You are all aware of the tragedy of the 500,000 of my fellow citizens - and we are a country of only 5 million people - who were expelled from their homes only because a former KGB officer in a faraway capital decided that their home was not their home anymore – but a playground for his neo-soviet ambitions,” the president said and expressed gratitude of these very people and the Georgian nation as a whole to the EPP President Martens, for his strong words and more generally for the support and moral leadership the EPP has shown throughout these last years.
According to Saakashvili, the latest proof of this was the European Parliament resolution on Georgia, supported by an overwhelming majority, which the EPP promoted.
“So, despite the occupation, the ethnic cleansing, the embargos and the continuous threats, I came here to deliver a message of hope, to stress the fantastic power of the attraction of the EU. Georgia that has been occupied, Georgia that was proclaimed dead several years ago, right now is one of the best reform performers. We are the world’s number one economic reformer according to the World Bank in this five year period. The number one fighter against corruption according to the data of Transparency International based on the five year period. We are the country that has the second most efficient and transparent bureaucracy in the world according to the Canadian Center of Law and Democracy after New Zealand. This is a country where poverty has decreased from 52 % to 17% and continues to decrease. And the country that has made tremendous social gains in terms of advancing our conservative values. These are the gains we are bringing to the European Union,” he said.
Saakashvili said that for the countries of the Eastern Partnership, there is no alternative to Europe.
“Our paths might look different – Georgia might embrace quicker and more steadily the European political model than others - but at the end, there is no other solution than the European transformation of our societies, no other geopolitical choice than European integration,” he stated.
Saakashvili said that the newly proposed Eurasian Union by Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin is a continuation of the Soviet Union. “The same kind of project was imposed on Georgia and many other nations almost one century ago. It had another name, it was called the Soviet Union then,” he said.
“The Eurasian Union is stillborn no matter what the declaration is right now. And this is very important to understand because of the recent events, in a small occupied region of Georgia called South Ossetia. The Russian President went there for an official visit, they staged elections and they could not even control their staged elections. They campaigned for a so called presidential candidate and so called elections and it all led to violence and ugly pictures,” Saakashvili stated.
The president was referring to recent elections in the occupied territory of Georgia in Tskhinvali region and said that: "Recent events in occupied Tskhinvali or even in the centre of Moscow have shown to us that the methods and the language of the past simply do not work anymore. I travel a lot to post-Soviet countries and I can tell you: There is no way they will accept the new Soviet Union in any form, under any name or any pretext,” he said. “The present is sometimes chaotic but the future belongs to democracies, open societies, free markets. In my region this democratic future has one name: Europe,” the president concluded.