PM speaks at Council of Europe: European allies mark Georgia’s 25th anniversary of independence

PM Kvirikashvili said marking the 25th anniversary of Georgia’s independence at the Council of Europe headquarters was extremely symbolic. Photo by the Prime Minister’s webpage., 21 Apr 2016 - 11:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s top official is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its independence with the country’s European allies in France.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili addressed Georgia’s foreign partners at the Council of Europe (CoE) in Strasbourg and stressed it was essential his country celebrated the important date with its European friends and allies.

In his speech yesterday at the CoE, Kvirikashvili said marking the 25th anniversary of Georgia’s independence from the Soviet Union – one of the most important dates in Georgia’s modern history – in the headquarters of the CoE had huge symbolic meaning as the CoE embodied the notion of European democracy, protection of human rights and rule of law. 

These were things Georgia currently focused on as it worked towards integrating into the Euro-Atlantic space, said Kvirikashvili.

He thanked Georgia’s foreign partners for their continued support for Georgia and hoped future cooperation would be deeper and more comprehensive. 

It’s very clear that due to our partnership, common values and culture Georgia has become a country with dynamic and modern democracy,” Kvirikashvili said. 

Prior to giving his speech Georgia’s Prime Minister met CoE Secretary General Thorborn Jagland. The CoE official is scheduled to visit Georgia in May and while here reveal the Georgia-CoE 2016-2019 Action Plan. 

PM thanked Georgia's foreign partners for their continued support. Photo  by the Prime Minister's webpage. 

PM Kvirikashvili informed Jagland about the range of democratic reforms his Government had carried out and about Georgia’s visa liberalisation prospects with the European Union (EU). He said he had received positive messages from the Parliament of Europe and CoE regarding fast-tracking Georgia’s visa-free regime allowing Georgians to travel without a visa to the EU for a short stay.

He also informed Jangland about the ongoing situation in Georgia’s breakaway regions. 

At a post-meeting press conference Jagland praised Georgia for its democratic reforms and stressed the "CoE should use all available resources and tools to defend the right of the people who live in two occupied regions of Georgia”.

He stressed Georgia’s relations with the CoE had "enhanced much over the past several years” and he hoped this would continue in the future.

Georgia’s pre-election environment was another topic discussed at the meeting, and Jagland noted Georgia had made a good start by already inviting foreign organisations and observers to monitor the October Parliamentary Elections.

Jagland said Georgia's pre-election environment was positive. Photo by the Prime Minister's webpage. 

Georgia’s progress in ensuring a free media environment was also mentioned following the recent release of a survey by Reporters Without Borders, which revealed Georgia had improved on the Free Media Index by 36 points since the Georgian Dream (GD) Government took office in 2012. 

In the 2016 survey Georgia ranked 64th out of 180 countries for media freedom. 

Meanwhile today PM Kvirikashvili is scheduled to deliver a speech at a CoE session.