More than 100 foreign guests including high officials from European Union (EU) member states met in Georgia’s coastal city Batumi yesterday to discuss Georgia’s European future.
On June 18 and 19 Batumi will host the 12th international conference ‘Georgia’s European Way’, organised by the Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.
This year’s conference will focus on the outcomes of last month’s Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga and the implementation of the Georgia-EU Association Agreement (AA), which the country signed with the EU in June last year. It will also address the geopolitical situation in the region, along with security challenges in the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood.
At the start of the event Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic Integration Minister David Bakradze welcomed guests to the two-day event, followed by greetings by the President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev, Georgia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Tamar Beruchashvili, Lithuania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Linas Linkevicius and Deputy Speaker of Latvia’s Parliament (Saeima) Inese Lībiņa-Egnere.
Other foreign guests attending the conference include the President of Bulgaria, representatives of European Parliament and European Commission, as well as the Parliament Speakers of Poland and Latvia. Members of EU institutions, Georgia’s partner countries, representatives of non-governmental and business sectors are also attending the conference.
Georgia’s Prime Minister was due to attend the event but offered his apologies, as he was required in Tbilisi following the natural disaster.
About midday today Lithuania’s Foreign Ministry went on Twitter and said the country supported Georgia’s European choice.
— Linas Linkevicius (@LinkeviciusL) June 18, 2015
Lithuania was a public supporter of Georgia today. It expressed its readiness to provide expert assistance to Georgia as it worked to implement the AA deal, which included the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as well as to assist in the development of administrative and institutional capacities.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister and Georgia’s Foreign Minister signed a bilateral charter about European and Euro-Atlantic integration at the conference yesterday.
The charter emphasized Lithuania’s growing support for Georgia as it moved towards EU and NATO integration. It also stated both parties will cooperate closely on issues such as the Eastern Partnership (EaP), implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agenda, a visa free regime between Georgia and the EU, and more.
Moreover, an Honorary Consulate of Lithuania opened in Batumi yesterday, in Georgia’s Autonomous Republic of Adjara.
Lithuania’s Foreign Minister said the opening of the Honorary Consulate in Batumi will contribute to the further development of cooperation between Georgia and Lithuania, particularly in relations of nations, tourism, trade cooperation and culture.
Overall, the two-day conference participants will take part in six themed sessions, three of which were held yesterday.
These sessions were:
- After the Riga Summit – Perspectives for further Development of Cooperation under the Eastern Partnership;
- Opportunities to Ensure Security and Stability in Eastern Europe (The Chatham House Rule);
- Cooperation between V4 (Republic of Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland) and the EaP countries;
Meanwhile three sessions will be held today. There are:
- Implementation of reforms related to the Georgia-EU Association Agreement – sharing experience and best practices;
- Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) and
- Strategic Communication on the EU Issues and Cooperation with the Civil Society.
Georgia’s European Way conference will end today, June 19.