Cohabitation “can be hard”, but the way in which President Saakashvili and incoming PM Bidzina Ivanishvili “work together will provide further proof of how far Georgia has travelled along the path to democratic maturity,” EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood, Štefan Füle, said on October 18.
Füle, who is visiting Georgia together with EU deputy foreign policy chief Helga Schmid, met with Ivanishvili and several ministerial nominees in his incoming cabinet, as well as representatives from the outgoing authorities; they were also due to meet with President Saakashvili later on October 18.
“In burying their differences, the leaders of Georgia ensured that the historic transfer of power proceeded smoothly. President Saakashvili and Mr. Ivanishvili have put their country’s best interests first and we salute their statesmanship and their patriotism. The European Union counts on them to continue to work together in this constructive spirit,” Füle said.
He said that Georgia and the EU have made progress in talks over Association Agreement, which also includes deep and comprehensive free trade agreement. He also said that the ongoing transfer of power had not delayed these negotiations and all the planned meetings would proceed as scheduled.
“We very much appreciate the readiness of the incoming government team to maintain continuity in these efforts,” Füle said.
On behalf of the EU, he thanked President Saakashvili and his outgoing government for “their record on reforms of which they can be proud; and they can also be proud of the way in which they have handed over the reins of power.”