It is a historic day for Georgia – we are signing an Application for EU Membership on behalf of the country.
Application for EU Membership is yet another milestone on the path of European integration of Georgia – it is a stage, which turns a new page in our history and continues the effort of our ancestors, which is aimed at the accession of Georgia into a common European family.
Georgia is a European state. Our country has always belonged to European culture and civilized space throughout its long history, and continues to make a valuable contribution to its protection and development. Being European is nothing, but a unity of values and principles, which shape Europe. History of Georgia, which is a track record of fights and battles for freedom, is an evidence of these values being enshrined in the character of a Georgian person and therefore an undividable part of its identity.
History has deemed the European choice of the Georgian people as its strategic aim. Since gaining its independence, our country has been consistently progressing and this day is yet another manifest of our effort.
Today Georgia is closer to the EU as never before.
In 2014, when I signed the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia in the capacity of the Prime Minister of Georgia, we assumed a tremendous responsibility towards our country and people to successfully start our journey of European integration and to make a strong and solid foundation to the eventual Europeanisation of our country.
It deserves pride to have a consistent performance of our authorities and public support since 2014, Georgia is successfully delivering its commitments assumed under the EU Association Agreement in the capacity of an Associated Partner and has made significant progress towards legislative, economic and political approximation with the EU.
Democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance have already turned into the essence of our daily existence. We are actively introducing European norms and standards in every field of our political, economic and social life.
Citizens of our country are benefiting from a visa-free travel arrangement within the EU/Schengen zone, which is a remarkable opportunity for a close interaction of our societies and nations.
Free trade with the EU enables us to achieve a gradual economic integration into one of the largest markets of the world. Modernization of the country in line with the European standards is irrevocable in a whole range of sectors has become irreversible.
Unwavering quest towards bui8lding the European democracy and accession to the EU is a step made towards unification of Georgia. I believe that we will be taking the journey of EU integration together with our Abkhazian and Ossetian compatriots and will build a united, strong European state together with them.
Sometimes, questions are posed in Europe on Georgia being a country of European culture or not, however the answer to this question is crystal clear to all in Georgia. Georgia is truly one of the oldest countries in the world.
According to the definition of a French enlightener Paul Valéry on a country of European identity, he listed three main criteria: influence of Greek-Roman culture, Christian beliefs and democratic tradition. According to these criteria, Georgia is indeed a deserving member of the European space, European family.
Georgian people taking great pride in its ancient culture and history dating back thousands of years, have always been oriented towards Europe and loyal to its values. At the dawn of the 20th century Georgian people created a most democratic, European state based on European values, while its essence and Constitution was compatible with current criteria of Europe with high precision.
National independence and statehood regained in 1991 was based on the same Constitution of Georgia, European values and became predominantly oriented towards Europe.
European future is a program and uncontested action plan of every Government of Georgia entrusted by the people of Georgia.
In closure, let me quote the words of a celebrated Georgian scientist and author of the European Constitution – Mikheil Muskhelishvili (aka Michel Mouskhely), as he was the man who was ahead of time and predicted the European union by being conscious believer in the idea of a unified Europe. “Georgia knows that it belongs to Europe. Now Europe should make conclusions. It is essential for Georgia to get established within Europe, while the western nations – admit Georgia into their family”.
These words as never before apply to the current reality. We hope and strongly believe that a historic process is getting its foundation laid today, which will lead to the accession of Georgia into the European family.
God be our protector!