As Georgia awaits the EU’s decision on its request for candidacy, local civil society leaders, journalists, artists and public figures have joined forces to unveil a new initiative called “Take a Step Towards Europe.”
During the launching ceremony on May 27 in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, the participants in the initiative also presented a nine-point manifesto outlining Georgia’s future “European path.”
See below the official translation of the document, with minor corrections for editorial style:
“For our country, this is a folding moment in history. In a few weeks from now, we will all see what the future holds for us and for our children. The time has come for all living generations of this country to make a big decision. No matter how frustrated and exhausted we all may be, each and every one of us must decide – whether we choose Georgia, its people, its ancient culture, its tireless pursuit of development to gather new momentum, and whether our journey as a people and nation shall endure.
Through centuries, time and again, a generation – one in a few – has been destined to pass the test of history, stand against the odds and reclaim the country and its future. And for as long as, in an unbroken chain of succession, again and again, people dare to choose life in dignity over pitiful end, hope over despair, and freedom over obedient serfdom – the journey endures and the people and their country shall not perish.
Many chosen generations that came before us have made their choice, so that we inherit this country for us to protect, cherish and nurture it to see it prosper and thrive. Now it happens to be our privilege to carry this great responsibility that none of us can surrender or avoid. If the future is about carrying on the glorious past of this ancient land of free people; and dignity and freedom is the way of Georgians that makes us who we are and we cannot settle for less – our choice and destiny is the European future of our country.
In this important moment in time, our choice is firm and clear, we choose the European path – because we claim the future in which:
- Georgia is a free country of free people – we never choose between “motherland and the state”, and between “freedom and security” – motherland means the state, and security is for defending freedom.
- People are the source of state authority – no one shall have the right to illegally gain or cease power for one’s wealth, rank or honors.
- Change in government happens through free and fair elections and transfer of power is a regular political event – not a rare exception.
- Universal human rights and freedoms are recognized and protected under the supremacy of law – not the will of a ruler but the law is supreme, all are equal under the law, and no one is above the law.
- Justice is delivered by independent and competent courts where everyone is equal before the law and no one can order or purchase a verdict.
- Freedom of speech is inviolable and protected – no one is persecuted for expressing an opinion, and censorship and pressure on the media are punished by law.
- There is no extreme, humiliating and deadly poverty – no one is homeless or hungry, retired senior citizens live their decent lives.
- The state effectively fights and defeats corruption – the state budget is not looted by officials ordained by rulers. Embezzlement is persecuted by law.
- Georgia’s cultural heritage and nature are protected – national treasures and natural resources are carefully protected and never illegally disposed by rulers.
Therefore, today, we – the people of Georgia stay firm in our shared conviction – our future is in the European Union and with the free world that delivers its promise of security, peace and dignity for every citizen. With this choice, we honor the struggle and sacrifice of many generations of Georgians who have fought for freedom, statehood and a better future.
As this is a moment of truth for Georgia, future generations will judge us for what we have done – what you have done – when the fate of the country had been decided.
A free country has always been earned but never granted, and it has been a destiny and privilege of those who despite differences and disagreements all agreed that it is their irrevocable birthright and they won’t ever settle for less.
Stay united – take a step towards Europe!”