Georgia’s Independence Day observed in Brussels

Georgia will mark its Independence Day on May 26 but the occasion was observed earlier at the Belgium Capital., 22 May 2014 - 13:09, Tbilisi,Georgia

Almost 100 years after Georgia declared independence from the Russian Empire, the nation’s people are firmly behind the country’s European future, says Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.

Speaking from Brussels where the PM met European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, Garibashvili said Georgian people had chosen European and Euro-Atlantic integration as the best and only foreign policy orientation compatible with their values, choices and aspirations to democracy, peace and prosperit.

Georgia will mark its Independence Day on May 26 but the occasion was observed earlier at the Belgium Capital. The Royal Museum of Art and History hosted a special reception devoted to Georgia’s Independence Day on the last day of the Georgian delegation’s visit to Brussels.

There, Prime Minister Garibashvili delivered a speech and spoke about his people’s western aspirations.

He said almost a century ago, on May 26, 1918, Georgia declared its independence and established one of the first social-democracies in the world.

"Unfortunately, this young democratic Republic lasted only three years before being invaded by Soviet troops. It took us another 70 years to regain our independence, return to the European family and restart work to rebuild Georgian democracy,” he said.

The Georgian leader said Georgia was looking forward to next month when the country would sign the Association Agreement (AA) and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement with the EU.

He said the Georgian Government had been working "extremely hard” over the last two years to qualify for this moment and a "new level of deepened relations” with the EU.

"We know we will have to redouble our efforts in order to make the most of the opportunities it offers,” he said.

"I assure you that this is a top priority of my Government.”

Garibashvili claimed Georgia’s European integration was irreversible and would not be swayed by outside pressure.

"The question is, how far and how fast can we go,” he said.

"As the elections for the European Parliament begin tomorrow, my hope is that one day, the people of Georgia may also take part in this great democratic exercise.”

Garibashvili said he was convinced Georgia could also contribute to the "continued success of the European project”.

The PM and the Georgian delegation are due to return home today.