Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has opened the Batumi International Conference - Georgia’s European Way and stated that the implementation of the Association Agreement (AA) remains at the top of the Georgian Government’s agenda.
We are diligently continuing our reforms aimed at stronger democratic institutions, legal approximation, and regulatory convergence with the EU. It is essential that we create more policy linkages and common areas with the EU,” said Garibashvili.
He also noted that the Georgian government ‘made an ambitious pledge to prepare Georgia for filing an EU membership application in 2024.’
I am certain that through continued reforms, steady implementation of the Association Agreement and gradual approximation with the EU, we will achieve this goal,” PM Garibashvili stated.
Irakli Garibashvili talked of the global pandemic and its consequences as well.
All of this activity over the last year is against the backdrop of the global pandemic that spares no nation, no people, no economic class. Georgia has emerged from the pandemic with renewed strength and purpose, focused on NATO and EU membership, and doing our part to maintain regional peace and stability,” said Garibashvili.
Garibashvili underscored the significance of the Batumi International Conference and said that ‘Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova’s EU aspirations’ are in the focus of the event.
We are joined here today by so many friends of Georgia to discuss Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova’s EU aspirations. We are all working hard to ensure that our dreams become a reality. I am looking forward to discussing the renewed transatlantic agenda and what it means for Georgia and the region,” Garibashvili noted.
The geopolitical condition of the region was also in the spotlight of the PM’s opening speech.
The last year has continued to see dramatic geo-political events unfold across the globe. Russia has not been deterred in destabilisation efforts, from the US elections, to Ukraine, to right here in Georgia where Russia still illegally occupies 20% of our sovereign land,” noted PM Garibashvili.
It is clear that the Black Sea remains on the front lines of a dynamic regional chess match. That is why you are here and why this conference is so important. The Black Sea region is a microcosm of conflict management; if we can maintain peace and stability here, we can do so elsewhere, too,” Garibashvili stated.
"On the diplomatic front, teaming up with the United States, we were recently able to secure the release of Armenian prisoners in exchange for providing information to secure the safe removal of land mines in Azerbaijan. Diplomacy works hand-in-hand with a strong defense and mutual assistance," he underlined.
PM Garibashvili also thanked the EU for the financial support of Georgia ‘as part of the Economic and Investment Plan for the next 7 years.’
Let me thank the European Union for readiness to allocate 3.9 billion euros to Georgia as part of the Economic and Investment Plan for the next seven years. All these efforts will serve to shrink further the physical distance between Georgia and the EU, fully realise the benefits of the Association Agreement, and increase the prosperity of the citizens of this country,” said Garibashvili.
Garibashvili emphasised the ‘crucial role of the EU and US in the security and stability of Georgia.’
The EU Monitoring mission has provided the only international presence along the occupation line and has greatly contributed to the prevention of provocations by the occupying force since the last Russian aggression in 2008...We are a young democracy, but we listen, we learn, and we improve as we seek greater European and Euro-Atlantic integration,” Garibashvili stated.
Leaders of Ukraine and Moldova will sign a joint declaration on European integration with Georgia, today.
The Batumi International Conference was not held in 2020, due to the global pandemic.
In 2019 Batumi International Conference was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.