President Margvelashvili: Georgia strives for EU membership

“Georgia has already paid the price of its choice in 2008 and we saw the same in Crimea,” said Margvelashvili. Photo by President's Press Office, 30 Sep 2014 - 12:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia has always strived towards Europe and eventually, the country’s efforts and progress will be rewarded with European Union (EU) membership, says Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

The Georgian official voiced his beliefs for Georgia’s future at an EU discussion within the World Economic Forum in Istanbul, Turkey.

"Georgia maintains its historic choice and gets redirection to Europe. The choice of my country is to become an EU member country in political, economic and cultural terms. Thus, signing the Association Agreement is only the start and our ultimate goal is integration and EU membership,” Margvelashvili said at yesterday’s discussion.

Margvelashvili believed Georgia was determined to continue striving towards EU integration. He believed Georgia’s EU integration would offer many interesting opportunities not only for Georgia but the wider region including the Caucasus, the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea regions.

"[Georgia] will get the opportunity to strengthen its democratic institutions and observe a more stable economy. However, this mutual benefit, as it is, in turn will see the European Union receive Georgia as a country which is the gateway to the Caspian Sea and interesting markets in Asia. Georgia has a more flexible and liberal tax system for businesses,” Margvelashvili added.

"[Georgia] is a country that creates new infrastructure for oil and gas pipelines. It makes Georgia attractive not only for Europe but for its Asian partners.”

Margvelashvili then spoke about Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU that was followed by "dramatic events in Ukraine”, where he referred to the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea in March 2014.

"[That] process started five years ago in the framework of the Eastern Partnership and six countries have participated in it. Three of them had already signed Association Agreements. These countries are Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. We know what kind of dramatic event followed in Ukraine,” Margvelashvili said.

"The positive side of the tragedy is that we [Georgia] have already experienced this six years ago. In 2008 Georgian territories were occupied. The occupation process has ceased and this is the result of active involvement of our European and Western partners, but Georgian territories are still occupied.”

Georgia’s President believed if the issue of Georgia’s occupation had been discussed more actively in international forums, the similar situation would not have developed in Ukraine so easily.

"Georgia has already paid the price of its choice in 2008 and we saw the same in Crimea and some other parts of Ukraine,” he said.