The more Georgia reforms the more the EU can do to help and support Georgia, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, said after meeting with President Saakashvili on Wednesday evening.
Van Rompuy held talks in Tbilisi on July 4 as part of his trip to South Caucasus countries. He arrived in Georgia from Armenia and will travel to Baku on July 5.
He said that Georgia had made “remarkable progress in its modernisation and reform efforts” and Georgia “serves as an example for many in the region and elsewhere.”
The parliamentary election in October and presidential elections later next year, Van Rompuy said, “will be crucial indicators of the progress Georgia has made on its path to reform.”
“I encourage all political actors in Georgia to support a tolerant political culture and issues based debate. Fair competition and genuine participation in the elections will be fundamental. I have pointed to the responsibility that lies with the President and his Government to ensure legitimacy of the elections. In this regard, I welcome President Saakashvili’s aim to keep the electoral process open to election observers,” he said and added that he made the same point to opposition representative when he met them earlier on July 4.
President Saakashvili said that Georgia was willing to see the EU involved in monitoring of all the stages of electoral process in Georgia.
“Electoral process should be transparent, open and clean from any kind of manipulations, clean from bribery and clean from an influence of money coming from abroad in order to allow people express their free will and in order to further continue our European integration,” Saakashvili said.
Van Rompuy said that Georgia “is one of the front runners in the Eastern Partnership” and noted that relationship between the EU and Georgia “is rapidly developing.”
President Saakashvili thanked the President of the European Council for his statement made after EU-Russia summit in St. Petersburg on June 4, reiterating EU’s support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and for calling Russia to “fully implement” its commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreement with Georgia.