"The journey has not always been easy, the road to freedom never is”, says the president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.
Juncker delivered his speech at Freedom Square in Tbilisi today during a ceremony dedicated to the 100th anniversary celebration of the first democratic republic of Georgia.
Standing in front of the Georgian soldiers he thanked Georgia for its ‘invaluable role’ in EU peace-keeping operations, serving noble causes.
"Georgia is a proud country, built on the courage and the ambition of its people. In the last century, you took your future in your own hands. You chose hope over fear. And you never stopped fighting for your independence and your freedom until it was firmly restored,” Juncker said adding that Georgia has been part of Europe and has always looked towards Europe.
Congratulations Georgia. Today's centenary #IndependenceDayGeorgia is a historic moment for your great European nation. You chose hope over fear. And you never stopped fighting for your freedom. #Georgia100#26Mayhttps://t.co/V7sMw5INl0 pic.twitter.com/b1AvCmuSYh— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) May 26, 2018
"A country built from the moment of its independence on the principles of democracy, equality and respect for human rights – values on which Europe is based today. These are not just words, these are not just aspirations. For all of us, these are enduring commitments. Through thick and thin, through conflict and pain, the Georgians have always stayed true to these values, making you what you are,” the President of the EC said, wishing today’s special occasion to be the start of the next chapter in the common story of Georgia and the EU.
"So I want us to break down more of the barriers that still exist between us, and step up our support to each other, building on the progress we have already achieved,” he added pointing out his delight that more than a quarter of a million Georgians have already visited Europe without visas since March of last year. He expressed his hope many more Georgians will visit EU soon.
As Juncker said, the EU will always support Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders.