President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili today slammed the Georgian Dream government’s preemptive refusal of a conditional EU assistance it apparently could not qualify for as “a rather incomprehensible step for a large part of the population, including myself.”
President Zurabishvili said the Georgian Dream’s economic reasoning behind the decision — the need to reduce foreign debt by refusing the EUR 75 million loan — “doesn’t hold water to analysis.”
“It’s not easy to get what causes international debt reduction to become more of a priority than the crisis situation of our own citizens today,” she said, adding that “until the result of double-digit [GDP] growth is reflected in the welfare of the community, the logic of refusing help is hard to understand!”
Alluding to Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s visit to the Rikoti Pass section yesterday, the President said “it sounds a little paradoxical to refuse a loan from Europe with one hand and on the other hand to praise various projects, including the construction of the Rikoti Pass Highway, largely done with European loans.”
President Zurabishvili also warned that the consequences of this decision are not limited to economics, but puts Georgia’s reputation and the credibility of its word at stake.
“The changing attitude toward signed documents and unilaterally-made unexplained decisions may affect the future rating of the country and the mood of foreign investors,” she highlighted.
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Noting that “there is no alternative to EU solidarity and partnership, which 80% of the population not only understands, but also shares,” President Zurabishvili said “in the post-Afghanistan period, a new strategic situation is emerging where our stability and security will depend more on Europe than before.”
“I stand on the side of Georgia’s European choice, I do my best to ensure that no one, neither the government with reckless steps nor the destructive opposition, which today brazenly signs a document that was undermined 6 months ago, can jeopardize the strategic interests of our country,” she added.