German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has started her visit to Georgia with the meeting with the civil society representatives, followed by the meeting with her Georgian counterpart FM Darchiashvili, civil.ge reports.
According to the information by GYLA, civil society representatives focused on the issues related to human rights situation in Georgia and stressed that importance for Georgia of the receipt of the EU candidate’s status during their meeting with the German FM.
Annalena Baerbock then met with the Foreign Minister Darchiasvhili. At the press conference following the meeting Georgian FM stressed that Baerbock’s visit demonstrates Germany’s special interest in Georgia, as well as Germany’s firm support at this important time and against the background of regional security challenges. He also expressed gratitude for Germany’s support for Georgia’s EU integration adding that the sides discussed the “historic importance of EU candidacy for Georgia” and “the steps taken by Georgian government to fulfill 12 EU priorities.”. He expressed the hope that “the progress will be properly assessed” and result in a historic decision. According to Darchiashvili the sides discussed EU and NATO integration, as well as the regional security, including the situation in the occupied territories.
In her remarks to the press, Annalena Baerbock stressed the importance of meeting the 12 EU priorities for EU candidate status, with particular emphasis on issues such as the rule of law, freedom of speech, strong civil society and de-polarization. She reiterated Germany’s support for Georgia on this path. She said: “This is the moment when we cannot retreat”. She emphasized that EU path means that “steps must be taken.”
The German Foreign Minister also stressed that the road to the EU “cannot be shortened, especially in terms of values”, a message she had already conveyed in her statement yesterday ahead of the visit. She said that Germany is observing very carefully processes in Georgia.
She also spoke of the strong impression that the mass protests in Tbilisi made on her when she saw demonstrators waving EU flags.
The German Foreign Minister said that “the place of the Georgian people is in Europe”, adding that “the Georgian government can’t become a member of the EU without civil society, and Georgian civil society won’t become a member of the EU without the Georgian government”, stressing that everyone must work together towards the goal of joining the EU.
The President Zurabishvili discussed with the German Foreign Minister the issues related to the European integration process of Georgia. As the President stated at the meeting held in the Orbeliani Palace, “the Georgian people will not understand a second rejection of the EU candidate status and will feel abandoned by Europe in such a difficult situation”. The President emphasized the importance of the visit of the Foreign Minister of Georgia’s partner country as an expression of Germany’s continued support for Georgia’s independence and European integration.
The Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, Dimitrios Karabalis, hosted Annalena Baerbock, to the occupation Line in the Odzisi area. They discussed ongoing “borderisation” activities and the negative impact they have on the local population’s freedom of movement. The Foreign Minister expressed her gratitude for EUMM’s contribution to stability in Georgia and the wider region. Germany has the largest representation in the EUMM, with 28 nationals serving in the Mission.