On November 14th and 15th President Saakashvili visited Brussels and met with various officials, including European Council President Herman Van Rompuy. The Georgian President and the European Council President held a joint press conference after their meeting.
Mikheil Saakashvili visits Brussels
By Keti Arjevanidze
Friday, November 16
Rompuy welcomed the manner in which the recent parliamentary elections were conducted in Georgia, and expressed a strong desire to work effectively and intensively with both the Georgian President and the new Georgian government. The European Council President expressed a hope that Saakashvili will continue to cooperate with the new government during this period of political cohabitation. Rompuy also added that the parliamentary opposition can play a very important role in Georgia’s development.
At the press conference the European Council President also reiterated the European Union’s ongoing commitment in achieving political association and economic integration with Georgia.
Rompuy stressed the European Union’s unwavering commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity. According to Rompuy, he and Saakashvili agreed on the critical and positive role which Georgia can continue to play within the Eastern Partnership. He also emphasized the EU’s long-term efforts to support the reform process in Georgia and EU’s permanent commitment to dialogue with opposition, civil society and government representatives in Georgia.
Saakashvili stated that now Georgia is at a stage when the country can become not only close to the EU but also a possible EU member.
“This is a historical challenge and we have a historic chance for the Georgian people. This is an opportunity not to be wasted." Saakashvili declared.
Saakshvili also stated that despite their differences in political views both sides in Georgia have to support each other for the sake of the country's development. “Cooperation is the only way of achieving this [development] for multiethnic Georgia. I think that in this regard we have a powerful ally in Brussels,” Saakashvili stated.
President Saakashvili concluded his visit to Brussels by meeting with President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz. Schulz called upon the new government of Georgia and President Saakashvili to cooperate before the Georgian presidential election, which is scheduled for October 2013. President Saakashvili stated that the main issue for him in his last year as President will be Georgia’s transfer to the next stage of foreign politics. According to Saakashvili this includes free trade agreements and associate membership with the EU as well as the simplification and even abolishment of Schengen visas for Georgian citizens.