Steering Towards European Integration: A Pivotal Moment for Georgia
A Crucial Meeting Amidst a Key Period
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili recently held a significant meeting with the President of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs, during a pivotal time in Georgia’s journey towards European integration. The interaction was described by Zurabishvili as “excellent,” and she expressed her gratitude towards Latvia for their consistent support over the years. She emphasized the importance of such backing in helping Georgia integrate into the European Union (EU).
Georgia’s Ambitious Endeavors Despite Struggles
Irakli Garibashvili, the Prime Minister of Georgia, took the opportunity to remind the international community of the military aggression his country endured in 2008, the effects of which are still felt today. Despite the devastation, Georgia has remained committed to pursuing its ambitions, which include its intended membership in the EU. Garibashvili highlighted the achievements of his government, including sustained economic growth over the past decade, decreased unemployment and poverty rates, and advancements in the rule of law.
Efforts Towards EU Candidacy
Describing the desired EU membership as a geopolitical priority, Garibashvili spotlighted his government’s strides towards this goal. This includes the European Union Association Agreement, the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, and the visa-free regime. The Georgian government has expressed commitment to address the 12 priorities required for European Union Candidate Status and aims to complete them within the year.
Contributions to Global Security
Over the past two decades, Georgia has contributed significantly to NATO missions globally, losing 32 Georgian soldiers in Afghanistan. Georgia’s unwavering commitment to standing alongside NATO to safeguard collective security was reiterated. The ongoing aggression against Ukraine reawakens the trauma of the 2008 war in Georgia, and the Georgian government has sponsored and supported numerous resolutions, statements, and initiatives concerning the conflict.
Advocacy for Peace in the South Caucasus
Garibashvili expressed his government’s dedication to bringing lasting peace to the South Caucasus, with initiatives aimed at improving relations with Armenia and Azerbaijan. He shed light on the comprehensive road maps signed with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, which are expected to eliminate bottlenecks and enhance the Middle Corridor from 2022 to 2027.
Focus on Renewable Energy
In response to the increasing need for energy and the imperative for addressing climate change, Georgia is actively pursuing new ventures in renewable energy. The goal is to attract investors and create a favorable environment for the establishment of innovative power plants, contributing to the global community while achieving even greater results for the Georgian people.
President Zurabishvili’s Advocacy for EU Candidacy
President Zurabishvili has embarked on a series of visits to European capitals, meeting with European leaders to persuade them to grant Georgia EU candidate status by the end of the year. Despite some disapproval from the Georgian government, President Zurabishvili has affirmed her dedication to continue visits to advance Georgia’s European Union membership.
The Way Forward
The coming weeks will be important in Georgia’s journey towards EU candidate status and in meeting the criteria set by the European Commission. Georgia must show its determination at all levels, in words but above all, in deeds. This is a crucial moment for the whole country to unite and to work resolutely for the common strategic goal of EU membership and European values.
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