Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, addressing the Assembly today in Strasbourg, hailed the progress Georgia has made in the 20 years since it joined the Council of Europe, citing constitutional reform, a more independent judiciary, and greater oversight of human rights.
He thanked the Assembly – as well as the other institutions of the Council of Europe – for their part in helping to reform Georgian institutions and society. Pointing out that there was more work to be done, he pledged a big increase in the resources devoted to education.
“The success of my country, accomplished in the last 20 years, belongs to both Georgia and the Council of Europe, and therefore we can both be proud of it,” he told parliamentarians. “Georgia has managed to make a dramatic transformation, and today we are a country on the rise.”
Mr Bakhtadze said his country still faced a major challenge in the occupation of parts of Georgian territory. While deploring the serious humanitarian and human rights situation in these regions, he pledged that Georgia would only seek to resolve the conflict peacefully.
The Prime Minister ended his speech by recalling the words of Georgia’s then-Speaker, Zurab Zhvania, when the country joined the Council of Europe 20 years earlier: “I am Georgian, and therefore I am European”.