Georgian President announces European Parliament address to “voice” citizens' European aspirations

President Salome Zourabichvili delivered her annual speech in the Parliament on Friday. Photo: 1TV, 31 Mar 2023 - 16:21, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili on Friday announced she would address the European Parliament next month with remarks on the country’s European integration and for “voicing” the aspirations of the country’s citizens. 

In her annual address to the Georgian Parliament, the President said she had received an official invitation from the EP President to address the body on April 18, “for the first time since 2010”. 

I will address the European Parliament with a speech. I know it will not be easy, but it is necessary for Europe to understand and listen to what our people have to say", Zourabichvili said. 

In her address, the President also criticised the country’s authorities for spreading “conspiracy theories” with their claims on attempts of domestic and foreign forces to “drag” Georgia into the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, and accused them of “misleading” the public with a position that she said alleged "European values" and the country’s national interests were in contradiction. 

She also said the country’s authorities had shown “neither rationalism, nor diplomacy” in positions related to the war in Ukraine, despite them joining all international resolutions in support of Kyiv. 

Responding to the speech, Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, said “many" of Zourabichvili’s statements were "incomprehensible” and “concerning”, and said he hoped the President would “not cross the red lines”. 

Fellow GD lawmaker Mamuka Mdinaradze accused the President of being “biased” and strengthening the “radical rhetoric” of the United National Movement opposition party.