European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi began his first, July 6-9 visit to South Caucasus in Georgia, where he has already met Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava, lawmakers, and Georgian Orthodox Church Patriarch Ilia II.
The Enlargement Commissioner said he talked with Georgian lawmakers today about the July 5-6 events in the capital, stressing “violence and vandalism are utterly unacceptable.” He highlighted that freedom of expression should be upheld, “unhindered by violence or any discrimination.”
MPs of all political parties – including Speaker Kakha Kuchava and Education Committee Chair Shalva Papuashvili from Georgian Dream, Khatia Dekanoidze of the United National Movement, Badri Japaridze of Lelo, Aleksandre Rakviashvili of Girchi – attended the meeting at the legislature.
“Now all parties should sign the April 19 political agreement and work together to implement it,” said Commissioner Várhelyi, alluding to the UNM, the largest opposition group which refrained from joining the deal.
Meeting the Georgian Patriarch on July 6, the Enlargement Commissioner vowed that EU support to Georgia’s territorial integrity “will continue and be more effective,” reported the Georgian Orthodox Church. Commissioner Várhelyi also visited several Georgian cathedrals, including the Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta, according to the same report.
The Commissioner is visiting Georgia to, among others, present the Economic and Investment Plan for the Eastern Partnership, which mobilizes “EUR 2.3 billion to leverage up to EUR 17 billion investments.” He said the Plan will support connectivity across the Black Sea, including via “ferry lines linking Georgia with the EU countries.”
Commissioner Várhelyi is also set to meet Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani during his stay in Tbilisi, after which he will travel to Azerbaijan and Armenia.