Emerging Europe: NATO Chief Tells Georgian PM to ‘Prepare for Membership’

Emerging Europe has responded to the recent meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, held as part of Gakharia's official visit to Brussels. The edition has published an article, titled 'NATO Chief Tells Georgian PM to Prepare for Membership.’

"NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has told the Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia to “make full use” of all the opportunities to move closer to NATO, and to “prepare for membership”.

"On a high-level visit to Brussels, Mr. Gakharia was also reminded however that NATO was counting on Georgia to ensure next month’s elections meet the highest international standards. “This is important for Georgia, and for NATO,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.

"The NATO boss also underlined the importance of Georgia’s continued reforms of its judiciary system and commended the country’s progress in implementing reform aimed at “strengthening democratic oversight on intelligence, security services and armed forces.” He said that Georgia had made good progress in modernizing its armed forces and in strengthening democracy," reads the article by Craig Turp-Balazs, the editor of Emerging Europe.

The author further notes that Mr. Stoltenberg was also keen to reiterate NATO’s support for the restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity.

"A fifth of the country remains under Russian occupation," he points out. 

The publication quotes the Georgian PM as telling the Secretary General that Georgia is ready to “find itself a new role” in ensuring security in the Black Sea region.

"While in Brussels, Mr. Gakharia also met with the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi and signed two financing agreements worth 129 million euros which will help Georgia cope with the Covid-19 outbreak and its impact on the country’s economy. The two agreements are part of the EU’s response to Covid-19 under the Team Europe initiative," reads the article. 

“The European Union is standing by Georgia in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to do everything we can to alleviate the effects of the pandemic on the lives of the people and businesses,” said Mr. Várhelyi.

The author notes that through a 75 million euros grant, the EU will support the country’s Anti-Crisis Economic Plan, designed to help citizens of Georgia recover from the impact of the pandemic. The EU will support this plan with 54 million euros in grants targeting the economic development of regions outside the capital.

At the end of the article, it is highlighted that Georgia dealt very well with the pandemic during the first five months of the crisis, and "Won the admiration of health officials from across the world for its strict lockdown measures ability to keep the number of infections at just a handful of new cases each day." However, over the past couple of weeks, the rate of infection has markedly increased. 

"The country has delayed reopening schools and universities, and now faces the added challenge of organising the parliamentary election scheduled for the end of October. The vote is widely expected to be a referendum on the government’s response to the pandemic. The ruling Georgia Dream party retains a healthy lead in opinion polls, and is expected to easily win an outright majority.

"Georgian economic growth is forecast to fall 5.5% in 2020 mainly as a result of a reduction in the country’s tourism sector due to coronavirus restrictions on traveling," the author concludes. 

By Ana Dumbadze 

Source: Emerging Europe 

01 October 2020 13:08