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Mamuka Bakhtadze: Our past is European, and therefore our outlook is European, and we need now more ambitious plans, because my nation is ready to go beyond

Ten years ago, the Eastern Partnership was a brilliant and brave idea, a visionary idea. After ten years, we need to have another big idea, so that all the nations are confident that they have tangible benchmarks to proceed, Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated at today's thematic panel discussion, Prospects of the eastern Partnership for Stronger Economy, Governance, Infrastructure, and Society, held under the Conference Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership.

According to the Head of Government, the past 10 years have been a remarkable journey for Georgia, one full of obstacles, but Georgia is a good example what type of transformative power the European Union has.

"The success of Georgia is your success. It is a joint success. For us, this is a main aspiration, and I always try to highlight the fact that, for my nation, our European aspiration is a civilizational choice. It is a value-based choice, because our past is European, and therefore our future is European. We have been paying a very high price for this aspiration, the political price and the economic price. Unfortunately, as you know, the Russian Federation continues to occupy 20% of our territory, and there are always attempts to influence this aspiration of the Georgian people. But more than 85% of our population actually backs up this decision, this choice, because it is a civilizational choice," Mamuka Bakhtadze stated.

The Prime Minister discussed the process of Georgia's transformation, which has not been easy. As the Head of Government stated, Georgia, year after year, has been progressing toward simplifying doing business, anticorruption legislation, rule of law, and the highest standards of respect for human rights, along with many other directions.

"The Association Agreement, including DCFTA, and visa liberalization are the historical accomplishments for my nation. At the same time, we have a vision to go beyond this success. Georgia is regarded as the frontrunner country in the Eastern Partnership, and we think that Georgia deserves more. We have more capacities, and that is why, two months ago, we presented to our European colleagues our unilateral document with the name "A Roadmap to the European Union," and the idea is to have the possibility to further be integrated in the European institutions. Mostly we are focused on sectoral integration, whether it is a common digital market, economy, transport, energy, or more mobility for our citizens, like circular migration, and many others. We also understand that there are challenges within the EU when it comes to the political decision but, at the same time, we think that Georgia is ready to go beyond, and we think that the very tangible step forward will be to start the sectoral integration process," the Prime Minister emphasized.

Mamuka Bakhtadze, in his remarks, underlined the role of Black Sea security in ensuring common Euro-Atlantic security.

"Together with Georgia, the European family is stronger. The message we have been trying to convey for years that, without Black Sea security, without the security of our region, it is impossible to create a sustainable security architecture and system of the EU. This means that, together with Georgia, the EU will be stronger. This would mean that European companies will have the opportunity to increase their exposure over our region, so that goes beyond our bilateral relations. Therefore, what is my message today is that our past is European, and therefore our outlook is European. And we have all the possibilities now to craft another big idea, an idea like the one that was introduced ten years ago, like the Eastern Partnership. But we need now more ambitious plans, because the countries in the Eastern Partnership, and particularly my nation, is ready to go beyond," Mamuka Bakhtadze stated. 

Together with the Prime Minister of Georgia, the discussion's participants included Moldova's Prime Minister Pavel Filip, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, and European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, and Chairman of Ukraine's Council on Foreign Relations Hennadiy Maksak. The participants of the discussions were addressed by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.