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President Zourabichvili: Georgia Has Chosen and Will Not Steer Away From the European Integration Path Because There Is No Alternative

Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia continues her first working visit to Brussels. As part of the visit, she has held a meeting with Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament. President Zourabichvili has discussed challenges facing the European Union, prospects for development of Georgia-EU relations, and Georgia’s European aspirations, noting that Georgia closely observes these processes, as these processes, she believes, are directly linked to Georgia’s prospective European integration.
President Zourabichvili has talked about having a Georgian Week in the European Parliament that, she believes, will be another key signal of support from the European Parliament. After the meeting, Antonio Tajani and President Zourabichvili held a joint press conference.
According to President Zourabichvili, “it is only natural and without alternative” that she pays her first visit to Brussels, to the European Union because Georgia is one of “the most determined pro-European nations”.
“Georgia has chosen the path of European integration and has not ever moved away from that path and will not, because there is no alternative. This conviction is shared by the Georgian population, political leaders, Georgian Parliament and political forces. For that reason, we have enshrined this in our Constitution that entered into force in December.
It is a very strong conviction and very strong determination. I am very thankful for all the meeting that I have had in Brussels. Everyone has shown support for Georgia and readiness to do more to help us more, to cooperate more, which only matches our readiness to do more on our side internally and in our relations to facilitate this path. We want also more cooperation. The road to integration we know that is still to progress, it is not immediate. We are realists, but at the same time very ambitious. We need to put more flesh on our different cooperation.
I am thankful for the Parliament for the political support on all the issues that matter so much for Georgia. Occupied territories is one of those topics. We have discussed this issue of having a Georgian Week in the European Parliament because that will be the occasion for Georgia’s culture to be recognized, accepted, and identified as the European culture,” President Zourabichvili said.  
Antonio Tajani has congratulated President Zourabichvili on her election victory, stressing that the European Parliament should “pay the way” in order the European Union to accept Georgia as a full-fledged member.
“During the meeting with the President, I have underlined the prospects for further development of EU-Georgia relations. After the visa-free regime entered into force, there are a lot of Georgian people traveling to Europe. We want to increase this number and we also want to strengthen the cooperation with this very important country. For us independence of this country is crucial, as it is crucial for the stability of the region. Cooperation of this country is also crucial against the terrorism. We have very good relations on inter-parliamentary agreement. There is a working group. The Georgians are European and now we need to pay the way for a better cooperation, Georgia to become a full member of the European Union in the future. We need time of course, but we need to start immediately, as the beginning is important,” Antonio Tajani said.
President Zourabichvili’s visit to Brussels began on January 21 and she has already held meetings with Johannes Hahn - European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Jean-Claude Juncker - President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini - Vice-President of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Dimitris Avramopoulos - European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Donald Tusk - President of the European Council, and members of the European Parliament – Ana Gomes, Clare Moody, Sajjad Karim, Heidi Hautala, Michael Gahler.
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