We hope that the European Union will duly acknowledge our countries’ long fight for freedom and democracy – Ilia Darchiashvili

Georgia’s National Day is a day when we remember those who have given their lives for our freedom, independence, and the right to define our own future; but it is also a day of hope that this sacrifice is never in vain” - the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ilia Darchiashvili is quoted as saying at an event dedicated to the Independence Day of Georgia in the historic building of the Brussels City Hall.
 
The reason why this year’s commemoration of Georgia’s independence is exceptional is because it is taking place against the background of Georgia’s application to join the European Union, which is a consequence of the long, relentless and unshakable efforts of the Georgian people to regain their place among the family of European nations.
 
As Darchiashvili stated, despite many challenges over the past 30 years, Georgia not only survived but has become a success story of democratic transformation in the wider region. “This success would have hardly been possible, had Georgia not been so consistently pursuing European and Euro-Atlantic integration”. However, Georgia’s advances in European and Euro-Atlantic integration have not been cost-free. “We are now living in a reality where barbwire fences are built in the very heart of Georgia, as the Russian military remains stationed only 60 kilometers away from the Capital representing an existential threat to Georgian democracy almost on daily basis” – said the Minister.
 
According to him, European choice is not a choice just for a better life and economic prosperity. Georgia’s consistent aspiration to develop into a European democracy has its roots in its history but also in the way the Georgians see themselves. “70-80% of the Georgian population have steadily been supportive of European integration. Georgians perceive themselves as part of the European family and see it as a matter of their dignity to build a viable, free and democratic society.”
 
The MInister paid special attention to the fact that “we are not just consumers of the European and Euro-Atlantic peace and stability. We have been reliable partners of the European Union and NATO”.
 
According to Darchiashvili There are few countries among members of the European Union, who have done as much for the privilege of being an EU candidate, as the Eastern European countries of the Associated Trio – Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
 
“I hope that the upcoming decisions of the European institutions and of the Members of the European Union will reflect the scale of the challenges our region faces and will duly acknowledge the decades’ long fight of our countries for our right to choose freedom and democracy” – the Minister highlighted.

According to him, against the background of Ukraine’s fight for freedom and territorial integrity, Georgia’s National Day acquires even greater meaning and significance than it has always had, and it is important that Georgia stands side by side with Ukraine in this fight.