‘Europe wants to protect Georgia's sovereignty’ European Council head in Tbilisi
President of the European Council Charles Michel arrived in Georgia on an official visit on March 1, and has already met with President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili.
“My arrival today in Georgia, tomorrow in Ukraine, and yesterday I visited Moldova – these are all messages about partnership. The European Council wants to support Georgia, protect its sovereignty, its territorial integrity,”Charles Michel said at a joint briefing with Zurabishvili.
In addition to the country’s officials, Charles Michel will also meet with representatives of the Georgian opposition.
The European Council is the main political body of the European Union. The Council includes only the leaders of the EU countries. The European Council defines the main development strategy and policy of the European Union. The President of the European Council is one of the highest officials of the European Union.
Charles Michel’s visit is especially important against the background of the political crisis in Georgia, which sharply escalated after the arrest of UNM opposition leader Nika Melia.
“The political crisis in Georgia worries both Europe and me personally. The European Union calls on all parties to work actively to neutralize the situation. During all meetings in Tbilisi, I first of all urge all parties to remember their responsibility,” said Charles Michel.
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The head of the European Council arrived in Tbilisi from Moldova as part of an Eastern European tour. From Georgia he will go to Ukraine.
The announced topics of the meetings of the head of the European Council in all three countries – Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine – are bilateral relations with the European Union, the fight against Covid-19, and the prospects for the Eastern Partnership.
“Charles Michel’s visit is a confirmation that the European Union supports Georgia as an important partner in the region,” said Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani.
The minister also commented on the permanent protest announced by the Georgian opposition demanding the release of oppositionists from prison and calling early parliamentary elections.
“The Georgian government is interested in translating dialogue into a constructive political process. This has been repeatedly voiced at all levels, and our partners in the European Union support this approach,” he said.
The opposition, in turn, hopes that Charles Michel’s visit will play an important role in overcoming the political crisis in the country.
Salome Samadashvili, a representative of the leading opposition party United National Movement, hopes that the ruling Georgian Dream party will show sufficient political wisdom and listen to its Western partners, their messages that the presence of political prisoners in the country undermines the strategic interests of Georgia. “
According to Samadashvili, Michel’s visit to Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine “is a signal to Moscow that the European Union is pursuing its strategic interests in the neighborhood of Russia.”