MEPs Meet Georgian Leaders, Lawmakers

A delegation of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defense (SEDE) is visiting Georgia from April 10 to 14, among others to assess the implications of Russia’s war against Ukraine on the country.

The group comprised of deputy chair of SEDE, Lukas Mandl (EPP, Austria), members Juozas Olekas (S&D, Lithuania) and Elene Yoncheva (S&D, Bulgaria), and MEP Lars Patrick Berg (ECR, Germany).

The MEPs today held meetings with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze and lawmakers of the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties.

At the meeting with the Georgian President, the sides discussed the war in Ukraine, Russian-occupied Georgian regions of Tskhinvali/South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the security environment in the Black Sea and Georgia’s European Integration.

President Zurabishvili told the MEPs that she would continue “active participation” in Georgia’s path of EU rapprochement, the Presidential Administration said.

She also stressed Georgia’s commitment to the non-use of force in the occupied regions. “We offer the people living in our occupied territories the prospects of Europe, not of war,” the President highlighted.

Georgia’s EU membership bid was the focus of the Georgian Prime Minister’s discussion with the MEPs today. PM Garibashvili talked about the EU institutions’ support for the accession of the Associated Trio countries – Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova.

The Government’s press service reported that the sides also discussed the security challenges stemming from Russia’s war against Ukraine as well as the importance of deepening cooperation in the Black Sea region, including in transportation and communications.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze and the lawmakers focused on Georgia’s defense reforms as well as developments in the region and the war in Ukraine, the Defense Ministry reported.

At the Parliament, the MEPs sat down with GD MPs from the Committees for European Integration, Foreign Relations, and Defense and Security – Maka Bochorishvili, Levan Karumidze, Mariam Lashkhi, Irakli Chikovani, Vladimer Chachibaia and Tamar Taliashvili.

The Parliament’s press service said the sides discussed Russian occupation, hybrid threats and the importance of international partners’ support to Georgia in this regard.

They also touched upon Georgia’s integration with the EU and NATO and the reforms necessary for the process.

Also on April 11, the MEPs met opposition lawmakers – Vice-Speaker Levan Ioseliani of the Citizens’ party, Khatia Dekanoidze of the United National Movement, Ana Buchukuri of For Georgia, Khatuna Samnidze of the Republican party, Giorgi Vashadze of Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Pridon Injia of European Socialists, Hermann Szabó of New Political Center – Girchi and Salome Samadashvili of Lelo.

MP Giorgi Vashadze said afterward that key topics of discussion were the Georgian Government’s stance on Russia’s war against Ukraine and reforms necessary for accession to the EU.

In this context, the opposition MP underscored the need to speedily adopt judiciary reforms.

“Every friend and ally of Georgia in the European Parliament roots for our country, its security, and also our future toward the EU,” Lelo MP Samadashvili said after the meeting.

“They wish to see Georgia’s EU membership application succeed, but at the same time it is clear that without adopting reforms Georgia needs, our country will not have success on its path to the EU membership,” she added.

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