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Georgia’s efforts directed at European integration

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, July 1
“Our country is located in the Caucasus region, the bridge between Europe and Asia, which determines all Caspian and Black Sea cooperation,” President Giorgi Margvelashvili stated at the Konrad-Adenauer Foundation on June 30 in Berlin.

The topic of the meeting was Georgia’s European Way, following which the President answered questions from the audience. The questions mainly referred to Georgia’s European choice, visa liberalization issues, Georgia's Euro-Atlantic integration process, Georgian-Russian relations, the recent referendum in the UK and the situation in the region, as well as to ongoing processes in Georgia.

Margvelashvili started his speech with condolences to the Turkish people and government concerning the June 29 terrorist attack on Istanbul Ataturk International Airport, which claimed the lives of 42 and left 239 injured.

He underlined the friendly relations between Georgia and Germany, saying Germany was the first country which recognized Georgia’s independence and opened its embassy there.

“We are delighted with the support of Germany to Georgia and with cooperation in business and in politics as well. Next year we will celebrate the 200th anniversary of the presence of the German community in Georgia,” stated Margvelashvili.

The President emphasized Georgia’s important strategic role in the Caucasus region, saying it is a regional hub which connects Europe and Asia and creates new opportunities for Georgia and for its partners as well.

“Today, Georgia is the strongest country in the region, which looks to the future with great hope and whose efforts are directed towards European integration,” he claimed.

Moreover, Margvelashvili stressed that Georgia’s neighbor Russia still occupies 20% of the country, where 15% of citizens are internally displaced persons and cannot live in their houses.

“However, despite these challenges we are going ahead and we are the leading country in the Eastern Partnership, which essentially serves to strengthen cooperation with the EU,” he added, and expressed hope that this process will be furthered with fair elections in Georgia.

According to the President, Georgia is one of the largest contributors to world peace, as it participates in various peacekeeping missions.

“With all these challenges and the great opportunities that we have, we hope that we will achieve significant results with our partners here in Berlin,” Margvelashvili said.

According to the head of the Presidential Administration, Giorgi Abashvishvili, the President’s visit to Germany is very important and is aimed at highlighting Georgian issues on the European agenda.

“During meetings with German officials, the President paid special attention to Georgia’s integration in Europe and to gaining more support for Georgia’s visa-liberalization, and at the same time emphasised the importance of the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw,” said Abashvishvili.

The President of Georgia will meet Federal President of Germany Joachim Gauck. The official welcoming ceremony was held at Bellevue Palace, and following the meeting the joint statements were made by the presidents. A meeting between the First Lady of Georgia Mrs. Maka Chichua and the First Lady of Germany Mrs. Daniela Schadt was also held. Within the visit, Giorgi Margvelashvili will then meet the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mrs. Angela Merkel, as well as the Presidents of both the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

The Georgian delegation includes representatives of the Government, the Secretary of the National Security Council, representatives of the Administration of the President of Georgia, as well as the representatives of the Parliamentary Majority and Minority.

The President’s visit came two weeks after Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili visited Berlin and three weeks after Georgian Parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili visited Germany.