Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has signed an application to join the European Union, following Kyiv’s suit.
Georgia now awaits receiving the status of a candidate from Brussels.
“Application for EU Membership is yet another milestone on the path of European integration of Georgia,” the Georgian PM said in a special address ahead of signing.
PM Garibashvili asserted this stage “turns a new page in our history and continues the effort of our ancestors, which is aimed at the accession of Georgia into a common European family.”
“Georgia is a European state,” he continued, adding: “Our country has always belonged to European culture and civilized space throughout its long history, and continues to make a valuable contribution to its protection and development.”
“History of Georgia, which is a track record of fights and battles for freedom, is an evidence of these values being enshrined in the character of a Georgian person and therefore an undividable part of its identity.”
“History has deemed the European choice of the Georgian people as its strategic aim,” the PM stressed.
“Since gaining its independence, our country has been consistently progressing and this day is yet another manifest of our effort.”
The Prime Minister also asserted that “today Georgia is closer to the EU as never before.”
“In 2014, when I signed the Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia in the capacity of the Prime Minister of Georgia, we assumed a tremendous responsibility toward our country and people to successfully start our journey of European integration and to make a strong and solid foundation to the eventual Europeanization of our country.”
In the lengthy address, PM Garibashvili argued Georgia is successfully delivering on its commitments under the AA, and “has made significant progress toward legislative, economic and political approximation with the EU.”
“Democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance have already turned into the essence of our daily existence,” he noted, adding “We are actively introducing European norms and standards in every field of our political, economic and social life.”
The PM also highlighted that the visa-free travel regime currently in place with the EU/Schengen zone is “a remarkable opportunity for a close interaction of our societies and nations.”
Meanwhile, he said that free trade with the EU allows Georgia to attain gradual economic integration with one of the largest markets in the world.
“Modernization of the country in line with the European standards in a whole range of sectors has become irreversible,” PM Garibashvili added.
“Unwavering quest towards building an European democracy and accession to the EU is a step made towards the unification of Georgia. I believe that we will be taking the journey of EU integration together with our Abkhaz and Ossetian compatriots and will build a united, strong European state together with them.”
“Sometimes, questions are posed in Europe on Georgia being a country of European culture or not, however the answer to this question is crystal clear to all in Georgia,” the PM said. “Georgia is truly one of the oldest countries in the world.”
Referring to a definition by French philosopher and essayist Paul Valéry, PM Garibashvili argued Georgia is a deserving member of the European family because it meets the three key criteria – “influence of Greek-Roman culture, Christian beliefs and democratic tradition.”
“Georgian people, taking great pride in their ancient culture and history dating back thousands of years, have always been oriented towards Europe and remained loyal to its values,” he stressed.
The Prime Minister recalled that “at the dawn of the 20th century, Georgian people created a most democratic, European state, based on European values, while its essence and Constitution was compatible with current criteria of Europe with high precision.”
“National independence and statehood regained in 1991 was based on the same Constitution of Georgia, European values and became predominantly oriented towards Europe,” PM Garibashvili added.
“European future is a program and uncontested action plan of every Government of Georgia entrusted by the people of Georgia.”
The Prime Minister then quoted Michel Mouskhely (Mikheil Muskhelishvili), the co-author of a draft 1948 European federal constitution: “Georgia knows that it belongs to Europe. Now Europe should make conclusions. It is essential for Georgia to get established within Europe, while the western nations – need to admit Georgia into their family.”
“These words as never before apply to the current reality,” PM Garibashvili argued, going on to stress “we hope and strongly believe that a historic process is getting its foundation laid today, which will lead to the accession of Georgia into the European family.”
“God be our protector,” the Georgian PM said, concluding his speech.
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