Ten years almost to the day after the Eastern Partnership was established, Dirk Wiese, Federal Government Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries, will visit Georgia from 13 to 15 May. Wiese will meet Georgian government and parliament representatives as well as numerous civil society stakeholders in the capital Tbilisi. He will also take part in a high-level panel discussion at the South Caucasus Security Forum, one of the most important foreign and security policy conferences in the key strategic region of the Southern Caucasus.
Prior to his departure, Dirk Wiese issued the following statement:
The EU’s Eastern Partnership is a success story, and Georgia is one of the best examples of this success. Today, an extensive association agreement is in place between the EU and Georgia. Moreover, for more than two years, Georgians have been able to enter the Schengen area within the EU without a visa. Both of these developments constitute tangible improvements and important political symbols – also and especially for young people in the country. Of course we hope that our Georgian partners will continue along their ambitious path of reform – and here we are counting particularly on the country’s vibrant civil society as a catalyst for new ideas.
The Eastern Partnership is part of the European Union’s neighbourhood policy. It was founded on 7 May 2009 at the Prague summit and includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine as well as Georgia. With the Eastern Partnership, the EU’s goal is to support its eastern partners on the way to becoming democratic societies based on the rule of law and the market economy.
Bilateral relations between Germany and Georgia have traditionally been close and characterised by trust. Germany was the first country in the then European Community to recognise Georgia under international law, on 23 March 1992, after it had gained independence in 1991. The two countries established diplomatic relations on 13 April 1992. Germany also opened an embassy in Georgia in 1992, the first country to do so.
In this connection, Dirk Wiese said:
Good relations between Germany and Georgia have a 200 year tradition. In 1817, Swabian farmers settled in the country – you could almost describe it as early civil society cooperation. Interaction and contact among citizens are now more important than ever before. They complement and enhance our close political relations. I am therefore very much looking forward to engaging with numerous stakeholders from very diverse areas of civil society in Georgia – including a group of students from Ilia State University.