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President Zurabishvili: “EU Cannot Afford to Lose Georgia”

On June 28, President Salome Zurabishvili discussed Georgia’s aspirations for NATO and EU membership, the recent military developments in Russia, and Russia’s soft power in Georgia during an interview with CNN.

Zurabishvili argued, that while paths to EU and NATO membership run in “parallel”, the EU currently seems closer, since the Russia’s war in Ukraine has accelerated the enlargement.

Furthermore, she highlighted that Georgia aims to attain the candidate status by the end of the year, a significant step after being granted the EU perspective, which removed the doubts over Georgia’s geographic belonging to the union.

She asserted that the “EU cannot afford to lose Georgia”, even though ongoing reforms that may not fully satisfy the EU at this moment. President suggested that the EU can provide constructive feedback and additional recommendations for Georgia to follow once it obtains the candidate status.

Russia, Ukraine

Zurabishvili said she was astonished at how easily the recent insurrection by the Wagner Group progressed in Russia. She found it strange that Yevgeny Prigozhin trusted Putin’s promises of security guarantees, given the historical treatment of rebels and war prisoners in Russia, stating, “When you are either a rebel or even a war prisoner, it’s never forgiven.”

Zurabishvili raised doubts about Lukashenka’s ability to ensure security guarantees, considering his inability to protecting Belarus’ independence from Russian.

She observed that Russia’s plans in Ukraine have faced continuous defeat, leading to discussions on European and NATO unity, as well as the enlargement of the EU, which she regarded as an unexpected development for Russia.

She emphasized the importance of security guarantees for Ukraine in NATO discussions and stated that “any advancement of Ukraine will in the end benefit Georgia.”

Regarding the presence of Russian refugees in Georgia, Zurabishvili acknowledged the concerns and the potential risks associated with Russia’s use of soft power tactics. She stressed the need to control the influx of Russians into Georgia to prevent them from becoming a pretext for Russian intervention.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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