Sunday

26th Jan 2020

Opinion

The road from Vilnius

  • EU monitor points to South Ossetia, where Russian troops recently installed barbed wire 'borders' (Photo: Crisis Group)

At the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit on 28-29 November, Georgia’s new President will seal the country’s European choice.

It is indeed a historic moment for my nation. Over the last year Georgia has made significant progress in order to initial the Association Agreement with the EU, against all odds. As Russian troops and barbed wire continue to encroach on our sovereignty, Georgia’s commitment to European and Euro-Atlantic integration stands stronger than ever.

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A month ago, my country passed another momentous test of democracy, holding elections widely praised as free and fair.

The vote was the culmination of a year of rapid, deep and comprehensive democratic reforms. It was also a confirmation of the will of the overwhelming majority of the people of Georgia, who voted for parties with a pro-Western orientation.

Georgia’s choice is both ideological and pragmatic. In order to achieve our goals of a democratic future in a peaceful and prosperous region, there is no credible alternative to European and Euro-Atlantic integration for our country.

A democratic and prosperous Georgia will be a better home for our citizens, including communities divided by war. A strong and stable Georgia firmly anchored within the European and Euro-Atlantic institutions can significantly contribute to the stability in the region and continue to play a role in international security.

The recognition and support the EU will demonstrate in Vilnius is a great encouragement for Georgia. We know that much remains to be done in the pursuit of European integration and we are committed and ready for this ambitious agenda.

We are determined to sign the Association Agreement by September 2014 and rapidly start its provisional application.

Beyond Vilnius, the reform programme will accelerate, carried forward by strengthened Georgian democratic institutions and leaders with a clear mandate to pursue complex reforms.

Since the presidential vote, the challenging period of cohabitation is over and there is a clear consensus and strong political will shared by the President, Government and Parliament on the path our country must take.

We share common European Values and will continue reforms to further strengthen democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as to boost investment, economic growth and social welfare.

Next year, when we enter the implementation phase of our commitments, will be significant for ensuring the irreversibility of Georgia’s European perspective.

Georgia deserves to be in the spotlight as an example of the remarkable progress made possible when foreign policy aspirations and relevant reforms are taken seriously.

The road from Vilnius leads to Tbilisi – the capital of a free, democratic, united and European nation.

The writer is the foreign minister of Georgia

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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