Austrian Chancellor Visits Tbilisi
On January 30, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer arrived in Tbilisi with an official visit and met his Georgian counterpart, Irakli Garibashvili. The Georgian government reported discussions about a wide range of issues on the bilateral agenda and the prospects for deeper cooperation. The heads of government made statements for the press.
Georgian PM Press Remarks
PM Garibashvili thanked the Austrian Chancellor for the “historic” visit to Georgia. He noted that, among other things, the parties discussed the current developments regarding the war in Ukraine, which is a “huge problem for the security architecture of entire Europe, for the world and for our region as well.”
In this context, the Prime Minister of Georgia underlined that Georgia “has its own problems” as 20% of its territory is occupied by Russia, which is a “great challenge for our country.” “We are responding to this challenge with the right, sensible policy. We have managed during the last 10 years to have had peace, stability, and economic development in Georgia,” the PM added.
The head of the Georgian government thanked the Federal Chancellor of Austria for supporting the territorial integrity and sovereignty, as well as the European aspirations of Georgia. Garibashvili further claimed that throughout the last ten years of the ruling Georgian Dream government’s tenure, the country achieved “all possible progress” on the European integration path, including signing of the Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU, as well as obtaining visa liberalization and the European Perspective.
The Prime Minister also mentioned the planned submarine electricity cable between Georgia and the EU in the Black Sea, which “will further integrate Georgia into the European market”.
Addressing Georgia’s EU candidacy bid and the twelve recommendations it has to implement to this end, Garibashvili claimed that most of them have been implemented, while several have been sent to the Venice Commission. Commenting on ending polarization in Georgia, he remarked that “this cannot be achieved without cooperation with the opposition,” and expressed his willingness to engage in such cooperation “in a constructive format.”
The Georgian PM said the bilateral relations with Austria are on the highest level which is demonstrated by the Chancellor’s visit. “Georgia is one of the most attractive countries in terms of investments, we are 7th in the world in terms of doing business, as well as one of the countries with the least bureaucracy and fewest barriers, and we always welcome the entry of Austrian companies, Austrian investors in Georgia,” the PM added.
Austrian Chancellor’s Press Remarks
Chancellor Nehammer reiterated Austria’s and the EU’s support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. He noted that Georgia’s EU membership perspective is very important due to the country’s geopolitical and economic significance. The Chancellor noted he discussed with his Georgian counterpart what needed to be done in this regard.
Chancellor Nehammer noted that there are many opportunities in Georgia to attract Austrian investors. He called Georgia’s economic performance “impressive”, especially in the tourism and energy sectors, calling Georgia “a very interesting partner for Austria” in the field of energy cooperation.
Speaking of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Chancellor noted that Georgia is in a “special situation.” He thanked Georgia for supporting the EU’s financial sanctions against Russia, noting this was “not easy” due to the “high pressure” on Georgia. In conclusion, the Chancellor said that Georgia was on the right track and pledged Austria’s support for Georgia’s EU integration path.
Disclaimer: Chancellor Nehammer’s statement was made in German language and is back-translated from the Georgian voiceover which may lead to inaccuracies.
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