In his televised address on the occasion of Georgia’s Independence Day on May 26, PM Irakli Garibashvili stressed on country’s “irreversible” European course and said that this year’s Independence Day is “special” as in a month Georgia will sign the Association Agreement with the EU.
“Historically we are part of the European civilization and therefore we should build European type of democratic and modern state,” Garibashvili said.
“Strength of the civilized state first and foremost rests upon strong democratic institutions, development and support of which is the obligation of the government; the state should provide rule of law and equality of each citizen before the law, secure freedoms of each individual and protection of their rights – that is the major value of democracy,” he said. “We are doing everything in order to have these values protected in Georgia.”
Georgia’s Independence Day is marked with series of outdoor festivities and events in the capital Tbilisi and other towns across the country. Military parade, which was key element of marking the Independence Day under the previous government, is no longer the case since Georgian Dream came into power. But similar to last year’s Independence Day, the military component is still present as various armored vehicles and armament are deployed in downtown Tbilisi and some other towns for a public display. Oath-taking ceremony of soldiers on Freedom Square in Tbilisi will also be held with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, PM Garibashvili and Defense Minister Irakli Alasania expected to address newly recruited soldiers.
“We are meeting the Independence Day with new hopes,” PM Garibashvili said in his televised address. “Soon we will take an important step on the road towards Europe – in one month we will sign [the Association Agreement] and become an associated member of the EU.”
“I believe that as the state where equal rights are upheld and from its cultural, historical and political point of view, Georgia will take its dignified place in the European family,” he said.
“We are all part of a historic process, which will make our great ancestors and our people’s cherished dream a reality. Georgia is getting closer to the European space and this process is irreversible,” the PM said.
He said that “our religion, tolerance, love of mankind and homeland” helped to “save Georgia.” “This is the force that will help to get Georgia back on its feet,” he added.
“Georgia has a great future. We will build and strengthen democratic institutions, defend freedoms and security of our citizens. It will be helpful not only for Georgia, but for the entire region as well.”
“Georgia has an ambition to become a leader in the region and I believe that Georgia will be able to do that,” the PM said.
“Along with political and economic benefits, development of our country will also be positively reflected on the life of each and every citizen,” Garibashvili said, adding that it will help to win back hearts and minds of “our Ossetian and Abkhaz borders.”
“A day will definitely come when we will again speak the same language and live in united and strong Georgia, in our common homeland,” he said.
The PM also touched upon the upcoming June 15 local election and said that it will be “yet another chance to take a step forward towards democracy.”
“These elections give an opportunity to each citizen to realize that this is their country and they themselves should take care of it,” Garibashvili said.
Noting that Georgia’s independence, declared on May 26, 1918, was short-lived as Bolshevik Red Army invaded the country in 1921, the PM also said “it’s our duty” to defend Georgia’s independence, which was restored on April 9, 1991, “at any cost.”