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President Zourabichvili: EUMM’s Activities at the Occupation Line Show Political Support of Vital Importance for Georgia

Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia has held a meeting with Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, as part of her first working visit to Brussels. The meeting focused on Georgia-EU relations and prospects for its further development.
Following the meeting, President Zourabichvili, Jean-Claude Juncker, and Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations held a joint press conference.
In her address, President Zourabichvili has thanked Jean-Claude Juncker for exceptionally warm reception and invited him to Batumi Conference 2019, marking the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.
"This visit is crucial for me personally, and as the newly elected President. The visit that began from Brussels, is not merely the first visit of the President; it is a clear and symbolic gesture that reflects Georgia’s obvious priority that has already been reflected in the new Constitution that entered into force after the election of the President. This priority involves the European integration, as Georgia by its culture, spirit and identity belongs to Europe. Here, Georgia feels at home.
We are extremely grateful for what the Commission has done in recent months. In particular, the meeting held here in November was of utmost importance, as it enabled almost the entire composition of the Government of Georgia and the Commission to discuss the country’s achievements, what has to be done, and to outline the steps to be taken in the future.
We have also discussed the possible visit of Mr. Chairman to Batumi in July to take part in the Conference of the Eastern Partnership. This Conference should become a significant stage for Georgia, as it marks the 10th anniversary of the Partnership Agreement and it will be a good opportunity to review our relations and progress that are extremely important. This will also be an opportunity to trigger new ideas, new approaches and dynamics in this relationship that marks the 5th anniversary within the framework of the Association Agreement. It will also be a great opportunity to think together about this relationship, being already very fruitful, after the European Parliament elections, when the EU takes the first steps on the path of establishing new institutions.
I would like to emphasize, and we talked about this in detail, the importance that Georgia attaches to the activities of the EU Monitoring Mission at the occupation line. By its essence this is a unique mission. The mission, existence of which is extremely important for the population living on both sides of this occupation line.
This mission strengthens the sense of security in them, and in us, authorities and in the entire Georgian population, it strengthens the feeling and not only the feeling that the EU is physically present with us in support of Georgia's territorial integrity.
This is a political support of vital importance. In general, measures taken to overcome the problem related to the occupied territories, peaceful efforts of Georgia can only be successful in case of strong support from our partners. Our efforts alone will not bring desirable results. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude and emphasize the significance of this mission and its continuation. The decision on its continuation has been made recently in Brussels.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to once again thank you and your team for your unwavering support for my country and its European perspectives,” President Zourabichvili said at the press conference.
As Jean-Claude Juncker noted, the meeting with President Zourabichvili focused on the situation in the occupied territories of Georgia and support for Georgia's territorial integrity.
"I am extremely glad that I am here with the new President of Georgia and I would like to note that her first official visit abroad was held in Brussels. This is remarkable and expresses Georgia's desire to get closer to the EU.
This is a gesture that we fully support and we support this aspiration because we clearly witness Georgia’s rapid and accelerated progress. I had an opportunity to tell the Georgian Government that paid us a visit on November 21, 2018, that the Government of Georgia is the Government of the only non-EU member state to take part and will take part in the joint meeting with the European Commission.
I took this commitment when I was visiting Georgia last year. We have a friendly, brotherly attitude toward Georgia when thinking about this great nation. We develop cooperation in different directions with Georgia.
In particular, in the economic sphere, as Georgian export in the EU increases gradually and we are determined to continue this path, the path of rapprochement of these two units. Under the word “unit” I mean the EU and not Georgia, as Georgia is a separate country and a great nation.
In 2017, we introduced a visa liberalization regime. I would like to point out with pleasure that the citizens of Georgia are traveling massively in the EU countries. Today, 300,000 Georgians have already traveled. We would like to further develop the program "Erasmus +". 3,600 students from Georgian universities are already involved in this program, along with 2,000 students from the EU-member states.
The macro-financial assistance that we give to Georgia will be maintained at the same level. Aside, Madam President and I have discussed several issues of Georgia’s internal policy. Namely, ongoing reforms in the judiciary. We have noted with pleasure that we face a real progress. I have asked Madam President about the situation in the occupied territories of Georgia. We believe that it is necessary to underline the need to protect Georgia's territorial integrity in every possible setting,” Jean-Claude Juncker said.
 
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