Georgia ready to become member of European neighbourhood

PM Garibashvili opened a conference Economic Integration with EU - Prospects and Opportunities, 27 Mar 2014 - 12:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

"We believe the time has come for the European Union to recognize Georgia's European prospects”, said Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibsahvili in his opening address at an international conference discussing Georgia’s EU integration.

Garibashvili is taking part in the Economic Integration with EU – Prospects and Opportunities conference in Tbilisi, which is being attended by delegations representing EU member states and Eastern Partnership countries, as well as non-EU member states.

Georgia’s Prime Minister began his speech stating Georgia was determined to continue striving towards EU integration.

"We, the Government and the people, realize very well that Georgia belongs in Europe and nothing can force us to stray from the path to European integration.”

Garibashvili believed the time had come for the EU to recognize Georgia’s European prospects and if this happened, it would pave the way for Georgia’s accession to the EU.

"It has become clear today that should the European Union fail to make a definite promise of membership to successful Eastern Partnership countries, crises similar to that in Ukraine will surface again. Moreover, these crises may get out of control and encompass the whole region,” the PM said.

He assured conference participants that Georgia was ready to complete the development of the Association Agenda and not only become a neighbour of Europe but a member of the European neighbourhood.

"We welcome the new possibilities that opened up for us at the Vilnius Summit. However, we also realize the challenges that accompany this process and we are ready to overcome these difficulties,” he said.

"To this end, we initiated a number of reforms and planned activities that are reflected in the economic section of the Georgian Government's policy. All this reiterates willingness to implement consistent reforms within the framework of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, with a view to ensuring that the country makes full use of the benefits offered.”

Garibashvili then spoke about the benefits brought by signing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

"Access to the European market, one of the largest and richest markets in the world, will ensure a powerful impetus for the diversification and development of Georgian business, local production, and export. I believe that Georgia's attractiveness will grow in terms of foreign direct investments, which, in turn will promote the inflow of new technology and know-how into the country, stimulate the emergence of competitive local production and creation of new workplaces,” he said.

Garibashvili explained the signing of this agreement enabled Georgia to cooperate with European countries in such fields as sustainable development, transparency and trade-related energy issues.

He also expressed hope that Georgian and international business communities will take advantage of this new reality. More importantly, Garibashvili said the agreement would benefit every Georgian citizen and business.

"The main objective of Georgia is to ensure the timely signing of the Association Agreement. As our European partners have promised us, very soon, in a matter of months, we will witness the long-awaited moment in the life of the Georgian people, as Georgia will sign one of the most important agreements in its history, an agreement that will define the future of our country. For our part, we will make an all-out effort to this end,” the PM said.