President Giorgi Margvelashvili touched upon the country’s foreign and domestic challenges in his annual speech delivered in parliament on March 31. The event was attended by 104 MPs, diplomatic corps representatives, NGOs, the head of the National Bank, Chairperson of the Supreme Court and others. The government refused to take part in the special occasion.
President: We need Europe and Europe needs us
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 1
Margvelashvili opened his speech focusing on Georgia’s foreign priorities. He stressed that the Euro-Atlantic path has been the historical choice of Georgians, and described this as crucial for Georgia’s security and democratic advancement.
Georgia needs the West and the West also needs a powerful Georgia,” Margvelashvili said, and stressed that in response to Georgia’s non-stop push towards Europe, and active participation in various peacekeeping missions, the country also required very clear messages at the EU Riga Summit in May.
“After the summit, people should feel the tangible benefits provided by Georgian-EU relations,” Margvelashvili said.
The president also touched on Georgian-NATO relations and stressed that Georgia should work more actively with the countries that are skeptical about Georgia’s NATO integration.
When it comes to Russia, the president stressed that the latter has punished Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova for their free choice. Margvelashvili emphasized Russia’s aggressive steps towards Georgia, and its refusal to meet the agreement on the non-use of force signed after the August War in 2008.
“The international community should be more supportive towards the three countries, as statements are not enough,” Margvelashvili said, noting that the Georgia must speak out against these issues internationally, and all political parties in Georgia must be actively involved in the process.
The president also emphasized the importance of direct dialogue with Georgia’s occupied regions, and of informing them about all the benefits that they enjoy within the motherland.
The president mentioned the importance of foreign investments in the context of Georgia’s current economic woes. He stressed that the Georgian-EU Association Agreement gave new life to business development in the country.
He said that low taxes, the low rate of crime, less bureaucracy and Georgia’s strategic geopolitical location should be very attractive to investors.
“Especially, when Georgia enjoys exemplary regional cooperation with its neighbors,” Margvelashvili said.
“Products manufactured in Georgia can be exported to a market that reaches 900 million people,” Margvelashvili said.
Margvelashvili appealed to the government to refrain from obscure regulations, and to make timely decisions, and to consult with business-sector representatives.