Crisis similar to Ukraine may repeat itself in other countries of the region if the EU does not give a clear membership perspective to “successful Eastern Partnership countries,” Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili said on March 27.
“We think that time has come for the European Union to recognize Georgia’s European perspective through which it will pave the way to our membership to the European Union. Today it is absolutely clear that if the European Union does not give the successful Eastern Partnership countries a clear promise on membership, crises similar to Ukraine will reemerge. It is not ruled out that similar crises will spiral out of control and will spill over into the entire region,” PM Garibashvili said in his address to a conference in Tbilisi on economic aspects of Georgia’s EU integration.
“I want to assure everyone that we are ready not just to be a neighbor of Europe, but also to become a member of European neighborhood. I want to emphasize that gradual integration into the European Union is the cornerstone of our country’s foreign and domestic policy and we spare no efforts for this purpose,” he added.
Georgian Foreign Minister, Maia Panjikidze, also touched upon this issue in her address to the same conference and said that clear European perspective would help Georgia to successfully implement all the reforms required for the EU integration. She also said that the Georgian authorities are ready to step up reform efforts in order to efficiently implement Association Agreement with the EU.
Meanwhile, a small group of people, one of them holding a Russian flag, gathered in Tbilisi center on March 27 to hold a pro-Russian rally and to protest against Western sanctions against some Russian officials; but they were confronted by anti-Russian activists, leading to scuffles; two men were detained by the police. Few pro-Russian activists, who rallied in a park adjacent to the Freedom Square, are united in a group called “The Earth is Our Home”, which in late 2012 rallied with the demand to close down Museum of Soviet Occupation in Tbilisi.
Earlier this week a few dozen people gathered at a screening of an anti-NATO documentary in downtown Tbilisi – an event, which was organized by a group called the Eurasian Institute, which, as it puts on its website, promotes in practical terms improvement of relations with Russia. Eurasian Institute’s event on March 24 was accompanied by a counter-demonstration, which at one point led to a minor scuffle.