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President Margvelashvili Declares 2018 Year of Freedom

New Year reception for the diplomatic corps accredited to Georgia has been held on behalf of the President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili and the Prime Minister at the Presidential Palace.
The President, First Lady and Prime Minister have hosted Metropolitan Shio, diplomatic corps accredited to Georgia, court representatives, members of executive and legislative branches, National Bank, National Security Council, GNERC, international organizations and Mayor of Tbilisi.
Before the reception, President Margvelashvili has guided the Prime Minister through the exhibition "From Independence to Freedom", dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of Georgia’s Independence. The exhibition features photos reflecting important events in the history of independent Georgia.
The President has reviewed 2017 and spoken about Georgia’s future in 2018.
"In 2017, our state took another step forward on the path of strengthening the highest values, European development, prosperity and democracy.
This year we celebrate 25 years since the United Nations has recognized Georgia. Also, this year we have celebrated the 25th anniversary of restoration of diplomatic relations with many partner countries. In 2017, Georgia has taken another step forward on the path of European integration and Georgians have been granted visa-free travel regime to Europe. This is a great trust shown from our partners and also a significant achievement of our government. This year we have seen a greater economic growth than we expected; also, successfully held local self-government elections.
Of course, we have a lot more to achieve. We look forward to the upcoming year that marks the 100th anniversary of restoration of Georgia's independence.
Hundred years ago, in 1918, our ancestors established the first Georgian republic. The republic that only existed for three years, but the one that was founded on the most advanced ideas and values.
We have prepared this small exhibition to summarize the recent history of Georgia. You have seen the important decisions of our ancestors. As soon as they were given the opportunity, they established the republic, the state based on European standards. Georgia was one among ten countries in which elections were held by universal suffrage and gender equality was promoted.
Our ancestors protected these values hundred years ago. We have founded independent judiciary and National Bank and established all those high standards that at that time have been controversial even in Europe: abolition of death penalty, prisoners' rights and other human rights.
I hope you will know more about our ancestors and their significant decisions after reading these small brochures. These years are followed by 70 years of occupation; our exhibition clearly shows that Georgia has never been entirely conquered because there were people who defended the idea of independent Georgia through own personal heroism and dedication under the extreme conditions in the totalitarian state. 
You will find out how our European partners supported the idea of Georgian statehood; also, European missions and European assistance that Georgia has been receiving for years.
When we restored our independence, all the authorities were unequivocally and clearly declaring those priorities that have been set by our citizens to the politicians. These priorities are the following: freedom, establishment of state based on European values, integration into the EU as a union that is the most suitable for Georgia considering the country’s culture and past.
Obviously, today we, the political leaders of Georgia, clearly declare that our destination are the EU and NATO. We pay the price for this choice, in the form of hardships that our citizens have gone through, thousands of tens of thousands of refugees and IDPs and our heroes that shed blood for global peace and stability.
We live with these values and I would like to thank the diplomatic corps for standing next to us at the service of strengthening our country.
Our new independence began in 1918. We restored independence, but still continue movement on the path from independence to freedom. This path is taken by each and every nation.
Our goal is to transform independence to freedom. In order to achieve freedom, we should further strengthen democratic political processes and create a more united, inclusive, homogeneous and future-oriented society.
Therefore, I would like to announce 2018, the historic year for our country, as the year of freedom, the year in which we will spare no efforts to transform our independence to freedom," President Margvelashvili said.
The music ensemble "Shavnabada" and David Mazanashvili's band have performed at the reception.
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