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Saakashvili: Georgia-EU Ties Strengthened in 2011

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, December 22
The year 2011 saw a break-through on the way to Europe, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said in an interview with Imedi TV on Tuesday. Discussing Georgia’s European course with Wilfred Martens President of the European People's Party (EPP) Saakashvili shared the “big plans” the ruling United National Movement (UNM) has for 2012. Emphasizing how close Georgia has approached European standards the Georgian president promised to fulfill the national dream by making Georgia a European country. Expressing EPP’s support towards the UNM, Martens spoke of the progress Georgia has achieved after the August War in 2008. “The country is open for democracy and the opinion polls prove how Georgian people trust their president and the UNM,” the EPP president stated.

As Martens said, he was the first European leader who released a statement about the Russian occupation on August 9, 2008. Welcoming the European Parliament (EP) resolution on illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing in Georgia, Martens spoke of the “great evolution” in Georgia. Hoping that Georgia would become a member of the EU, Martens talked about the real prospects that Saakashvili had created with his team during the last three years. “The Georgian president has achieved democracy by distributing power among different bodies, he has carried out reforms, elaborated an electoral code for ensuring free and fair elections, and that’s why Georgia plays such an important role for the Eastern Partnership in the region with the rest of the five countries [of the Partnership],” Martens said.

Talking of the EP resolution the Georgian president emphasized the importance of international support towards a small country like Georgia. Hoping that the term “occupation” would be followed by Russia’s de-occupation of breakaway regions and they would pay for the ethnic cleansing, Saakashvili spoke of the “historical results” of “Europe’s lessons.” The president said that Georgia would even make friends with Russia in future, but as a member of the EU and NATO. Promising that Georgia would have a free trade regime with the EU by the expiration of his presidential term in 2013 Saakashvili emphasized how this step would hasten development processes in the country.

Talking of the forthcoming elections in 2012-2013, Saakashvili welcomed an agreement between the UNM and the opposition on maintaining the current number of MPs. Feeling optimistic about the parliamentary elections planned for October, 2012 Saakashvili said the country has all the resources to continue the restoration process. “Today we are being opposed by people who couldn’t find their place in modern society, but I would welcome new opposition parties with a less discredited past, who will offer people better viewpoints,” said the president.

The president said the ruling party would be oriented to the future instead of focusing on the past. Talking of politics as a constant “fight for survival” the president explained that one should prove people’s trust in democratic society for the good of the country.