Spain and Georgia Plan Future Collaboration

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain, Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo, met with his Georgian counterpart and other top officials of the country and the Patriarch Ilia II in Tbilisi on February 28-29. The Spanish Minister announced the opening of a Spanish Embassy in Tbilisi and supported the European integration of Georgia.

“Georgia and Spain have much in common, at least the historical names of our countries – both Iberia,” said Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, David Usupashvili.

Although the majority of the meetings between the Spanish guests and Georgian top officials were held behind closed doors, the Foreign Minister of Georgia, Mikheil Janelidze, said that they have had a lot of support from the Spanish side concerning the issues of European integration and territorial unity. The Spanish Minister positively assessed reforms that Georgia has taken to achieve Visa Liberalization.

“The visit was planned long ago and is very important for us. I’m sure that it will give new impetus to developing better relations between our countries. Therefore, we assess highly Spain’s decision to open an embassy here,” said Minister Janelidze.

Minister Garcia-Margallo said that they plan to open the embassy as soon as possible. In the near future a temporary trustee will be sent to Georgia and begin active work in this direction.

The opening of the embassy will contribute to the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries in the political and economic sphere. Minister Janelidze emphasized the tourism field, where Spain had achieved outstanding results. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Spain took third place as one the most popular tourist destinations worldwide in 2015.

“Tourism for the Spanish economy is as important as for our economy. So I think we have much to learn in this area,” noted Janelidze. Moreover, the Ministers mentioned the establishment of transport links, including direct flights.

Another common area for countries was wine culture. Minister Garcia-Margallo was informed in an informal atmosphere about the unique Georgian wine culture and tasted the best varieties of wines, raising the opportunity to discuss potential of wine tourism cooperation.

The Spanish Minister, at a meeting with Georgian government officials, discussed different joint cultural, agricultural, educational and infrastructure projects. In particular, it was announced an investment of the Mercado San Miguel Company (most touristic and popular market in Madrid) in Georgia and the creation of its direct analog.

As part of his two-day visit, the Minister met with the Patriarch Ilia II, and laid a wreath at the Heroes Memorial.

In addition, it was scheduled to visit important cultural places like the Art Palace Gallery and the Georgian National Museum, where the directors of the museums themselves acquainted the Spanish Minister with the history and culture of Georgia.

The rugby match between the national teams of Georgia and Spain was held in Tbilisi on the eve of the Minister’s arrival, where Georgia won 38: 7. “We discussed many themes, including the rugby match and we agreed that the time will come when Georgians will play football as finely as Spaniards and Spaniards will play rugby as finely as Georgians,” noted Parliament Chairman Usupashvili.

Eka Karsaulidze

03 March 2016 17:27