Georgia Hosts Parliament Speakers from Nordic-Baltic Region

Speakers and vice-speakers of the parliaments from eight Nordic and Baltic countries visited Georgia on March 20-22 to hold a meeting in NB8 regional cooperation format and to support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

Speakers met Georgia’s leadership – President, Prime Minister and the Chair of the Parliament and spoke with civil activists. They also visited Khurvaleti, a village adjacent to South Ossetia which has been split in two by the Russian barbed wire and thus became a symbol of Russia’s encroachment on the Georgian territory.

NB8 Parliamentary delegation included Speakers Pia Kjærsgaard (Denmark), Eiki Nestor (Estonia), Inara Murniece (Latvia), Viktoras Pranckietis (Lithuania), Olemic Thommessen (Norway), vice-Speakers Arto Satonen (Finland), Steingrímur J. Sigfusson (Iceland) and the Ambassador Martina Quick, who represented Sweden. 

NB8 was established as formal co-operation agreement between the Nordic Council and the Baltic Assembly in 1992.

Warm Welcome

The Chairman of Georgian Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze and the Speakers and Vice-Speakers of the Parliaments of NB8 countries held the joint meeting in the Parliament on March 21. Kobakhidze said this meeting, held in an “unprecedented format,” was a venue to discuss challenges the country faces, as well as potential solutions. NB8, he highlighted, “is a very powerful and effective mechanism” of the Parliamentary diplomacy.

Kobakhidze spoke of the “common values and principles” of “democracy, civil society, gender and social equality” underlining this cooperation. He also said that expanded cooperation would “further contribute to the global security and stability.”

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has emphasized that Georgia’s achievements became possible through “dedicated support” of Scandinavian and Baltic countries. “We remember how the Scandinavian countries supported the Baltic countries in achieving their goals. Today, we are very grateful to see the Scandinavian countries, together with the Baltic States, coming here to support Georgia’s European future," Kvirikashvili said. 

President Giorgi Margvelashvili discussed with NB8 representatives the current developments in the occupied territories of Georgia, security environment and the recent actions, taken by the Russian Federation in this regard.

Words of solidarity

Visiting representatives voiced their unanimous support to Georgia’s aspirations and pledged to support further reforms.

Eiki Nestor, the Speaker of the Parliament of Estonia (Riigikogu) emphasized that the meeting aims to encourage the leaders of Georgia “to develop and reform their state in order to better integrate with Europe.” He stressed, “Estonia supports the territorial integrity of Georgia and is interested in peaceful solving of the conflicts there.” He added, “the international community must not leave Georgia’s concerns unnoticed.”

Latvian Parliament Chairwoman Inara Murniece called on Georgian leaders not to relent on reforms aimed at Euro-Atlantic integration, as “in the long run they will bring practical benefits to the citizens.”

Viktoras Pranckietis, Speaker of the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas) said “Lithuania believes Georgia’s European future" and considers it a duty “to help Georgia” in European integration. He stressed that it is crucial to effectively raise awareness on Georgia’s positive achievements in the European and Euro-Atlantic integration, in particular in view of Russia’s aggressive propaganda.