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Vilnius Summit summarized on Zurab Zhvania’s birthday

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, December 10
The Vilnius Summit summarizing conference named “Eastern Partnership – Roadmap after the Vilnius Summit” was held in Tbilisi on December 9. The event was dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the late Prime Minister of Georgia, Zurab Zhvania. It was attended by Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, Head of the EU Delegation to Georgia Philip Dimitrov, other state officials and the representatives from the Conrad Adenauer Foundation.

Zhvania's 1999 declaration at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe that "I am Georgian and, therefore, I am European", has been mentioned many times since then. The words were frequently mentioned during yesterday’s event as well.

“Zurab would have been glad to have such a business-like anniversary,” PM Zhvania’s widow, Nino Kadakidze said.

"Today, when we are talking about Georgia’s rapprochement with Europe and our European perspective – the values that were so close to Zurab Zhvania, it is impossible not to recall his famous words said in Strasbourg. These were very exciting words for all Georgians, and at the same time, significant ones for the West. This was the first step towards Europe that our great ancestors dreamed of and that is really fulfilled by only our generation, fortunately,” PM Gharibashvili said.

Gharibashvili stressed that after the Vilnius summit the primary goal is to sign the Association Agreement by September 2014. He said that the EU's strong political support, more involvement, as well as the assistance based on the principles of the differentiation and "more for more" are crucial to the successful completion of this process.

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili stressed that the European way is a historical choice of the Georgian people and not a decision of any political force or leader. He emphasized that Zhvania put a significant emphasis on Georgia’s European development, and Zhvania’s absence on the day was a “historical injustice.”

Parliamentary Chairperson Davit Usupashvili stated that Georgia waits for “some disturbing steps” by Russia, and the conference was one of the means to display Georgian’s devotedness to the European path.

EU Ambassador Philip Dimitrov stated there would be challenges regarding how far Georgia is ready to be with Europe, and how far Europe is for Georgia.

"Let me start with congratulations on what Georgia has achieved by initialing the Association Agreement. Moving closer to Europe is the country’s choice. This is a wise choice oriented towards a European future. We often point out the attitude of the Georgian people towards this choice and how much it is supported regarding NATO/EU integration. After initialing the Association Agreement, you should expect to sign it,” Dimitrov said.

Dimitrov focused on several possible challenges.

"There will be challenges regarding how far Georgia is ready to be with Europe. The security-related issues will also take place. It will not be difficult to deal with these.”

Minister of Energy Kakhi Kaladze stated that in the case that Russia uses energy levers against Georgia and stops providing Georgians with electricity, Georgia has some alternatives.

“However, Russia has not used this lever and we do not expect such developments,” Kaladze said.

Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated that the country would have a significant and hard 9-10 months. He said that various structural and legal changes would be carried out.

Coalition MP Davit Onoprishvili said the parliament would have to work in a very active regime and carry out changes in nearly 300 legal acts.

Member of the UNM Giorgi Kandelaki said that completion of political pursuit and selective justice would be one of the main preconditions for signing the Association Agreement.

The UNM MP Davit Darchiashvili stated that the government should be principled and assess risks from Russia appropriately.