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Georgia’s regional policy and its relations with the EU after the Vilnius Summit

06/12/2013, Rome

Georgia wants to pursue the path of the association agreement initialled in Vilnius on November 29, for which the ratification is foreseen in September 2014.

These are the declarations of Georgian Minister for the European Union and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alex Petriashvili, at a meeting organized by the Institute of International Affairs on “Georgian regional policy and its relations with the EU after the Vilnius summit”.

The minister’s speech was focused on two main topics: Georgia’s strong will to pursue the path of adaptation to European standards; and the problem of political and economic pressure from Russia.

Petriashvili reminded the audience that the 2012 elections, in which over 80% of the population voted for pro-Europe candidates, were held in full respect of international standards of transparency and fairness (as many international observers confirmed).

On this basis, the minister reaffirmed that Georgia fully shares European democratic values and is ready to undertake a series of economic and political reforms in view of integration, that may come shortly.

Referring to Russian pressures, the Georgian delegate denounced a new “Berlin wall”, meaning the barbed wire barrier installed by Moscow along the boundaries (controlled by Russian army) between Georgia and the occupied territories of South Ossetia.

Despite this military burden and the continuous blackmail from Russia on the gas issue, Petriashvili is confident that a diplomatic solution can be reached with Moscow through dialogue: setting aside the militaristic rhetoric and concentrating on a win-win approach that can bring advantages and more competitiveness on both sides.

Attracting foreign direct investment, enlarging the market for Georgian products, enforcing the rule of law are the major positive effects the country expects from the association agreement. Georgia should put all its energy into seeking an agreement with the Russian Federation, without forgetting that it is a sovereign state accountable only to its citizens.

The meeting was moderated by Nona Mikhelidze, researcher at the IAI, and was attended by numerous diplomats and consular representatives. the Turkish ambassador in Italy, Hakki Akil, congratulated the Georgian minister on the work done by Georgia so far, which he considers a very positive signal for neighbouring countries.