The Batumi 16th International Conference, dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative, has opened earlier today, with an “unprecedented number” of foreign guests, including the president of the European Council Donald Tusk, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reports.
Welcome to Georgia, which is [not only] a pro-European state, but a proud European nation,” Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said while addressing the audience.
The Georgian president and prime minister stated that after signing the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) deal with the EU and the establishment of visa free travel, it is time to start a new era in EU-Georgia relations.
Both for Georgia and the EU the time has come for a new course to be launched. Our values, culture and everything are European and 80 per cent of our people supports the country’s EU membership,” Zurabishvili said.
Bakhtadze stated that new opportunities should be provided to further Georgia’s European integration.
Georgian Foreign Ministry wrote in a tweet.
We want and we need sectoral integration with the EU. However, on the path, we need further support from you and access to financial instruments,” Bakhtadze said.
He stated that challenges have never influenced Georgia’s foreign course and the country has stood with its partners to ensure international security.
We have Russian bases in the heart of Georgia and witness the adduction, torture, murder and violation of rights of our citizens on a daily basis,” he said, adding that the Georgian government needs the support of the international community to support its citizens in the regions, help them receive access to education, healhcare and start businesses.
Bakhtadze stated that Black Sea security is of the utmost importance.
Without Black Sea Security, the security of Europe is less imaginable and Georgia is ready to become the EU’s top partner in this regard,” Bakhtadze stated.
European Council President Tusk cited iconic Georgian poet Vazha Pshavela’s “Patriotism and Cosmopolitanism” in his speech, saying that the Georgian poet was speaking about the importance of globalisation and state-to-state ties already 100 years ago.
European Commission head Donald Tusk wrore in a tweet.
He also stated that when he says the word Georgia, he means freedom, pride and bravery.
Never allow everyone to make you divided”, Tusk said.
The collapse of the Soviet Union was NOT the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. Today in Georgia I want to say loud and clear: the USSR collapse was a blessing to Georgians, Poles, Ukrainians and the whole of Central and Eastern Europe. And also to Russians.— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) July 11, 2019
Tusk stated that the supports the EU enlargement.
Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani stated that the EaP is a “very important initiative,” and Georgia has been recognised as the leader country of the Eastern Partnership.
Georgian Parliament Speaker Archil Takakvadze said that Georgia has used all the potential of the EaP over the past 10 years.
Group of people, who have participated in anti-occupation rallies starting from June 20 in the capital of Georgia, have come to Batumi and are now standing in front of the hotel where the Batumi Conference is being held, demanding the resignation of Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia [for the rally dispersal in mid-June].