Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili opened the International Conference on the Economic Integration with the EU – Prospects and Opportunities, which was held in Tbilisi and attended by the Georgian cabinet of ministers, delegations representing EU member states and Eastern Partnership countries, as well as non-EU member states.
Gharibahsvili talks about Georgia’s EU prospective
By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, March 28
Gharibashvili began his speech stating that Georgia is determined to continue striving towards EU integration. “The government and the people realize very well that Georgia belongs in Europe and nothing can force us to stray from the path to European integration,” Gharibashvili stated.
The Prime Minister said that the time has come for the EU to recognize Georgia’s European prospects and if this happened, it would pave the way for Georgia’s accession to the EU.
Gharibashvili has paid attention to Ukrainian events as well stressing that it has become clear today that should the European Union fail to make a definite promise of membership to successful Eastern Partnership countries, crises similar to that in Ukraine will surface again.
“Moreover, these crises may get out of control and encompass the whole region,” Gharibashvili said, assuring everyone that Georgia is ready “not only to be Europe's neighbor, but to become part of the European neighborhood as well.”
“I would like to emphasize that incremental integration into the European Union is the cornerstone of our country's foreign and domestic policies. And we will spare no effort to this end,” he added.
At the same time on March 26, the EU and the US submitted a joint statement, according to which they support the ongoing process of the political association and economic integration of interested Eastern Partnership countries with the EU, an expression of the partner countries' free choice.
“The association agreements, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas, have the potential to support far-reaching political and socio-economic reforms leading to societies strongly rooted in European values and principles and to the creation of an economic area that can contribute to sustainable growth and jobs, thereby enhancing stability in the region. We support the democratic path of the Eastern European partners, the resolution of protracted conflicts and fostering economic modernization, notably in regards to Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, which are moving closer to signing their respective association agreements with the EU,” the statement reads.