President Zurabishvili Begins Brussels Visit

President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili is paying an official visit to Brussels on January 21-23, where she has already met European Council President Charles Michel, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, King Philippe of Belgium, European Parliament President David Sassoli and Chairman of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee David McAllister.

European Council President Charles Michel tweeted after the meeting today that “EU’s support to Georgia’s territorial integrity is unwavering.” President Michel also said the 27-member bloc stands by Georgia in its fight against COVID-19 pandemic and to “deepen reforms.”

On her part, President Zurabishvili said “the support we’ve received from the EU since the beginning of COVID proves that solidarity is the best way out of this global challenge,” adding that “we seek that same solidarity now that the world has access to vaccines.”

After the meeting with the top EU diplomat Borrell, President Zurabishvili said “what we need is more involvement from the EU in conflict resolution.” She added that “the security cooperation between Europe and Georgia makes us stronger.”

On its part, European External Action Service (EEAS) reported that High Representative Borrell and President Zurabishvili discussed Georgia’s post-election political impasse, the COVID-19 pandemic, the humanitarian situation in Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as well as the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.

“Georgia needs a fully functioning, representative parliament, enjoying the trust of the population to take resolute action for a speedy, inclusive, green and sustainable recovery from COVID-19 and to advance the wider reform agenda, including in the judiciary,” the EEAS quoted High Representative Borrell as saying during the meeting.

After meeting with King Philippe of Belgium, President Zurabishvili said “Georgia and Belgium have a lot of opportunities to work together. We must take these opportunities, be they economic or cultural, in our hands.”

At the meeting with European Parliament Presaident David Sassoli, President Zurabishvili appealed to him to recommend to the relevant bodies to allow same tuition for Georgian students across the 27-member bloc as the EU students.

“Promoting Georgian students in Europe is a priority. By studying across the EU, they learn the values necessary to build the democracy of tomorrow,” she said after the meeting.

President Sassoli, on his part, highlighted EU support to Georgia in its efforts against COVID-19. “Only through solidarity can we overcome this crisis,” he tweeted.

In the European capital, Georgian President is also set to hold meetings tomorrow with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders.

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