Georgian PM highlights EU candidacy “dream of many generations” in end-of-year comments

Garibashvili noted the path toward the outcome was ”not easy”, and cited the “period full of many challenges” in the run-up to the European Council’s decision. Photo: Government Administration, 18 Dec 2023 - 14:47, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday highlighted the “fulfilment of the dream of many generations” in the country being granted the European Union membership candidate status last week, in his end-of-year report summarising the work of his Government.

Garibashvili noted the path toward the outcome was ”not easy”, and cited the “period full of many challenges” in the run-up to the European Council’s decision.

[W]e have always been guided by the national interests of our country, so we have achieved this result. We have acted while taking into account only the interests of our citizens, and have come to this day”, he said. 

“In 2012, the foundation was laid for the real Europeanisation and democratisation of our country. After [former PM and ruling party founder] Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream party took over the reins of our country's governance, our Government set out on the path of strengthening the sovereignty of our country”, the Prime Minister told the audience in Tbilisi. 

Georgia has become a European state. This process is irreversible. Now it is necessary to work with even more determination, more motivation to accomplish more [and] ensure the country becomes a truly European country, and, crucially, make our principal dream of deocuppation [and] unification of our country, and its development into a true, successful European state a reality", the PM said.

The Government head also credited the ruling party with achieving the “greatest outcome” on the path of European integration.

“I have said before that if anyone has achieved any specific result on the path of our country's European integration, it is the Georgian Dream party”, he told the event.

Starting with the signing of the Association Agreement [with the EU in 2014], free trade [and] visa-free travel [deals], even the main priority of our declared foreign policy was reflected in the constitution, and it was crowned by the recognition of the European perspective last year, and now this year, by receiving the candidate status”, the PM noted.

He also thanked European and American partners, leaders of EU member states and their ambassadors for their efforts and involvement in the process. 

Also, I want to thank the United States Government - I want to extend special gratitude to Mr. Sullivan [US National Security Advisor]. I said a few weeks ago, when there was already the recommendation by the European Commission [for the candidate status], that Mr. Sullivan was one of the [...] outstanding supporters of the success of our country on the European path”, Garibashvili said.

The PM highlighted the “role and voice” of European and American partners as “very important for the country’s success” in his comments.