As the Georgia’s Association Agreement with the EU provides a new impetus for the country’s domestic reform efforts, Tbilisi calls for EU’s continuing support to fend off increased pressure from Moscow, said Alexi Petriashvilli, the Georgia’s State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration at the SAC during his working visit to Slovakia.
Following its success at the Vilnius Summit in November 2013, Georgia is stepping up its diplomatic efforts to use the integration momentum generated by the initialling of the Association Agreement with the European Union.
The visit of Alexi Petriashvilli, Georgian State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, to Slovakia is an integral part of that drive.
Tbilisi can also rely on the support its integration ambitions enjoy among the Georgians. The 90% support of the eventual EU membership is also the result of the ground work and non-governmental international assistance in the form of programmes including the Transfer of Know-How run by the Slovak Atlantic Commission (SAC). State Minister Petriashvilli praised the partnership which leads to both sides sharing the experiences and learning from the cooperation.
Speaking at the event organised by the SAC, he reminded the audience that Georgia was a crossroads country with a history of many cultural and geopolitical turbulences, hinting at Russia’s influence in the region. State Minister Petriashvilli reiterated the need to normalise Georgia’s relationship with its northern neighbour and praised the EU for the support.
Georgia will continue to implement the reforms that the EU deems important. On the other hand, he said that the visa liberalisation with the EU, where a considerable progress has been made, remained very important for Georgian citizens.
The debate at the SAC also touched the sensitive issue of the breakaway territories – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The State Minister said that it was up to the people who live there to decide if they would stay isolated or join Georgia.
The visit of State Minister Petriashvilli to Slovakia included meetings at the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the National Council. It followed the 2013 visit of Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze.