“Today we are not speaking about immediate accession to the EU, but about granting candidate status to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova – given that membership requires time, as well as reforms and negotiations,” Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili said at the event organized by the society “Paasikivi-seura” in Helsinki.
Shalva Papuashvili spoke about Georgia’s European integration process and stressed that the European path is irreversible for our country.
The Speaker focused on the relations between Georgia and the Republic of Finland and said that the cooperation between our countries is based on the common European values and the support of the international order based on law.
“The historic struggle of the Finnish people for freedom of choice and democracy, as well as the Finnish welfare model for Georgia, is an example in the process of establishing a European state government,” Shalva Papuashvili said.
Shalva Papuashvili stressed the importance of the Russian response to the Russian aggression in Ukraine and in this context.
“The war in Ukraine did not start in 2022 and it will not end if the West does not hold Russia accountable again for its actions. Georgia had to fight with Russia for its independence and freedom in the 1990s and 2008. Moreover, the ties with Russia in the history of Georgia have brought many tragic moments to the country, including the loss of statehood, annexation and Sovietization, massive repressions, the disruption of our churches and spirituality, and attempts to suppress Georgian values and identity. “Thus, we understand perfectly well what the Ukrainian people are experiencing today – the Russian invasion of Ukraine awakens painful memories for Georgia as well, especially given that Russian troops are still stationed in Georgia’s two historic regions – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali,” he said.
According to him, despite everything, Georgia has been fighting since the first day of gaining independence and remains a democratic state. The Speaker of the Parliament also noted that our country is now going through a transition period and, consequently, the challenges still remain, however, Georgia has made great progress.
According to Shalva Papuashvili, broad support for Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations is now officially guaranteed as a result of the fundamental changes made to the Constitution in 2017-2018. With the signing of the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia, Georgia has taken its relations with the EU to a qualitatively new level.
“Over the past decade, Georgia has proven to be a valuable and credible partner with a responsible foreign and security policy that has helped maintain stability in the Caucasus and the region as a whole. We have demonstrated our commitment in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, Central Africa, Kosovo and many other missions where our European partners have come to our aid. “The meeting with the children and family members of the brothers’ cemetery in Tbilisi and the fallen soldiers again reminds us of the great price that Georgia has paid for our international partners and global peace, ” Shalva Papuashvili said.
Speaking about the importance of granting EU candidate status to the Associated Trio, the Speaker said that granting candidate status would reassure the Georgian, Ukrainian and Moldovan people that even in this chaotic period, a better future lay ahead.
” Geopolitics has led us to apply for EU membership, and therefore the EU should consider Georgia together with two other countries when deciding on candidate status in the geopolitical context. If the EU joins the Association Trio, it will give Moscow the green light for more aggression. Granting Georgia the status of EU candidate will make Georgia a dynamically developing democracy vulnerable in an already turbulent region.
Europeanization and democratization are closely linked and granting Georgia candidate status a transformational will influence it and promote further democratic reforms. Consequently, today is a moment of legitimacy and credibility for the EU and its own international position. In the face of this strategic choice, the EU must demonstrate its long-term interest in the region by granting candidate status to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. It will be a historic decision that will help bring these three pro-Western countries closer to the space where their true place is,” he said.