Russia should understand Georgia is Europe and that Europe is also aiming for Georgia to be Europe, Georgian president Salome Zourabichvili told MEPs in her address to the European Parliament on Wednesday, ahead of the bloc’s forthcoming decision on Georgia’s membership candidate status by the end of this year.
“Georgia wants to join the European family, this is a historical choice, it determines our future - our European choice is not only legitimate, but also has no alternative”, Zourabichvili said.
She added surveys had “constantly shown” the Georgian citizens’ “continued support” for European integration, “and it is fair to say there are many countries in Europe that would envy such a level of European enthusiasm”.
“Our European choice is not only legitimate, [but] it has no alternative. Based on our value, our history, our attitude, our vision of the European future, Georgia will rejoin its European family. I am the head of the country whose constitution obliges all state agencies to take all necessary steps to support European integration. I do this tirelessly, and I will do it not only to fulfill the requirements of the constitution, but also from a moral standpoint”, she said.
Zourabichvili stressed the Georgian people had demonstrated its “firm determination” for the country’s European integration, which she said included the rallies against the foreign influence transparency bill proposed by the members of the ruling Georgian Dream party in April, with the parliamentary majority having had to shelve the draft law due to public protests for its resemblance to a related Russian law.
“Anti-European campaigns only lead to political marginalization," she said and told the Georgian government representatives that they had “no right to threaten me, because I will still do what I think and what I deem necessary”. The president highlighted “at this critical time in our journey towards Europe”, she was working to ensure that Georgia overcome domestic and international challenges and strive for European integration, adding “the only way for this is Georgia to receive EU candidate status and I am sure of that”.