On July 8, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Vienna. During this official visit, the Prime Minister, accompanied by Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili and Head of Administration, Revaz Javelidze has also met the President of the Austrian Parliament, Wolfgang Sobotka, to discuss cooperation between Georgia and Austria’s parliamentary groups.
At the joint press conference with Chancellor Nehammer, PM Garibashvili underscored the importance of Georgia’s recently granted European perspective and pledged to implement the EU recommendations for gaining candidacy.
“We came up with an initiative to involve not only our government but also opposition parties and representatives of the civil sector, to make this process inclusive and ensure broad participation,” he emphasized. “We guarantee this to our partners and our European friends,” PM Garibashvili stressed.
Regarding bilateral relations with Austria, the PM said “we have a serious potential to deepen and strengthen our relationship in all directions, be it economy, trade, or defense sector.”
For his part, the Chancellor Nehammer expressed support for Georgia’s European aspirations and the continued cooperation between the two nations. In this sense, the Chancellor said he explained to his Georgian counterpart the reasoning behind the European Council decision not to grant the candidacy at this stage, underscored the need for Georgia to follow the European Commission’s recommendations and pledged Austria’s support in this endeavor. Nehammer also stressed the need for heightened legal certainty and security to expand Austrian investment, and stressed the need to work jointly against organized crime.
Comments on War, Democracy
Concerning Ukraine, Garibashvili said he was “very worried” by the developments there. “We must do our best together to end this war and restore peace and stability,” he argued. In this regard, he also stressed “quite difficult” situation on the ground in Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia.
Fielding the question concerning the state of democracy and the recent rallies in Georgia, PM retorted: “You probably have not been to Tbilisi or do not know what is happening in Georgia in reality. We dramatically changed the situation in the last ten years. In reality, we inherited an authoritarian regime and today Georgia has become one of the prominent examples of democracy.”
He continued: “holding demonstrations are characteristic of democracy, but these demonstrations, like others, were futile, the government is stable and strong, and we continue our country’s path forward.”