European Council President Spokesperson
I am truly delighted to be back in Tblisi. President Margvelashvili kindly invited me here during our last meeting in Brussels in May. I am glad I took him up on the offer!
Before anything else, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who fell victim to the flooding in Tbilisi on 14 June. Our early assistance is our expression of solidarity with you in this time and for sure we will remain engaged.
At the Eastern Partnership Riga Summit we agreed that our bilateral relations will be guided by even more in the future by the desires, interests and different ambitions of the Partners.
Georgia has defined itself as a close associated partner of the EU and our bilateral relations are strong and growing. Georgia is definitely a front-runner in the Eastern Partnership. This is not flattery. It is a fact.
The Association Agreement, which we started to implement last September, will play a crucial role in further deepening our cooperation. We are ambitious because we want to make sure that positive changes will be seen and felt as early as possible by the Georgian society.
One such example is giving Georgians visa-free travel to the EU. Good progress has already been made and we have set ourselves a clear and ambitious timetable to finalise this process.
During our talks we have also discussed the difficult regional and international context. The EU continues to support the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. We want to lower tensions, engage in dialogue and advance diplomatic efforts towards a solution.
Tomorrow I intend to visit the EU Monitoring Mission at Administrative Boundary Line with the Georgian breakaway region South Ossetia, to assess the situation there following the recent installation of new demarcation signposts.
Let me add a final remark. Georgia really matters a lot to us. Maybe Europe is not giving you everything you would like to get but it is nevertheless giving, especially when you compare Europe to others.
Thank you again, Mr. President, for your renowned Georgian hospitality and for the stimulating discussions.