The EU stands firmly by the side of Georgia, but is concerned at the worsening political crisis in the country, President of the European Council Charles Michel said during his visit to Georgia on 1 March. The visit is part of a tour to the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine from 28 February to 3 March.
Speaking to reporters following his meeting with Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, Charles Michel stressed the European Union’s message of support, saying his visit underlined the EU’s commitment to the partnership with all the countries of the region.
“The EU stands firmly by the side of Georgia. We support your sovereignty, we support your territorial integrity in a region that we know is complex. We also support your commitment to implementing reforms, and the fight against the pressing challenge… of COVID-19, and for the economic and social recovery that will occupy us over the coming months and years.”
But he also pointed to the worsening political crisis in Georgia. “This is of great concern to the European Union... The European Union calls on all parties to intensify their efforts to defuse the situation and to come together to find common ground.” He reiterated his call for dialogue between political parties, with the opposition and with the government.
“I appreciate that political debate in a democratic setting requires leadership and courage on the part of all parties involved. I am convinced that Georgia has what it takes to overcome the current challenges and to consolidate the foundations of its democracy,” he added. “In this respect, political stability, backed up by an open democracy and a functioning and independent judiciary, is essential for deepening the partnership between Georgia and the European Union.”
He said the EU would continue to show strong solidarity with Georgia in the fight against COVID-19, pointing out the EU was the main donor to the COVAX programme, “which will enable vaccines to be delivered in the country”.
President Michel also reiterated the European Union's strong support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders, ahead of a visit later today to the demarcation line of the breakaway region of South Ossetia.
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Charles Michel statement (in French)