A two-day 14th international conference ‘Georgia’s European Way 2017’ is underway in Georgia’s Black Sea city of Batumi on July 13-14, focusing on Georgia’s European aspiration, democratic progress, the Russian occupation and regional stability.
Georgia’s EU integration and Russian occupation
By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, July 14
The opening ceremony was attended by the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, and special foreign guests: Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union and Vazil Hudak, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank.
PM Kvirikashvili underlined in his speech that European integration has no alternative and is irreversible process for Georgia.
“This conference is of special character for us as it is being held for the first time since Georgian citizens enjoy visa-free travel with the EU. This is a success of historical significance for Georgia, it is an achievement of every single citizen as well as result of politicians’ hard work,” Kvirikashvili stated.
He added that since the restoration of Georgia's independence, European integration been one of the driving forces for the country's development and reforms.
Kvirikashvili also stressed that Georgia would never accept Russia’s occupation.
“We will activate all mechanisms and use all tribunes and all peaceful ways to achieve Georgia’s integrity and free our future generation from this hard legacy,” he underlined.
The Russian occupation was one of the main issues raised by President Margvelashvili as well. He stressed that Russia’s creeping occupation brings tension in the region, but ‘Georgia is distinguished by its great responsibility and patience’.
“Our attitude towards this historic injustice, which takes place in several tens of kilometers away from us, is based on the European standards, European values and dependence on European experience,” he said.
The President called on the international community to duly assess the illegal actions of the Russian Federation.
“Democratic states do not prefer war and violence for resolution of international problems,” Georgia’s Parliamentary Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze addressed the participants of the conference.
He underlined that peace and stability can be achieved only by means of cooperation, providing the partnership based on democratic values.
“The dream of the Georgian people, to become a full member of the European family, will definitely come true. This is the historic choice of our people and the historical mission of our government,” Kobakhidze claimed.
Along with Georgia’s senior officials, delegates from partner and European Union (EU) nations are also taking part in the international conference in Batumi, organized by the State Ministry for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia.