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Tbilisi, 9 July 2013
Remarks to the press by Commissioner Štefan Füle following the meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Tbilisi
I am glad to be in Tbilisi and have the opportunity to meet with President Saakashvili. I will be coming back to your beautiful country in just in a couple of days to participate in this year's Batumi conference and I will meet with the Prime Minister and the government in Batumi then.
The pace of the engagement between the European Union and Georgia is accelerating. We have a lot of valuable deliverables in the pipeline, and these will contribute to making the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit in November a success.
The President and I had a good meeting and discussed a range of issues in EU-Georgia relations as well as some important regional and global issues. I recalled the importance of basing our engagement on shared values. These include an absolute respect for democratic principles and the rule of law.
In this context, I stressed the importance the EU attaches to constructive cohabitation – mutual respect and setting aside partisan differences in the interest of the country’s future is the only way to build a prosperous, pluralistic society. It is the style of leadership Georgia needs at a time of transition and opportunity for the benefit of all citizens. In this respect I have especially appreciated the constructive approach taken by the Parliament where cooperation has been good across partisan divides.
In order to make Georgia’s transition a genuine success, we still need to see further strengthening of its democratic institutions and deeper efforts to prevent polarisation of the society.
The EU fully respects the pledge of the new government to the Georgian people to address any legacies of the past, and we trust that this will be done in full conformity with Georgia's international obligations and European values. Ensuring that justice is fair and free of any political interference is of paramount importance, but of course without allowing impunity either.
I call on all actors in Georgian politics to respect their state's institutions and to refrain from instrumentalising them for partisan purposes.
For further information:
Website of Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy
European Union External Action Service (EEAS) website on Georgia
Development and Cooperation – EuropeAid website for Georgia