After the visit of German Foreign Minister Annalena Burbock to Tbilisi in March of this year, German Ambassador to Georgia Peter Fischer told Interpressnews about this visit, as well as the prospect of Georgia’s accession to the European Union, the condition of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and other issues.
Assessing the visit of the German Foreign Minister, Ambassador Fischer said the visit was “very good and successful” and noted that the minister said exactly what she said in public at the meetings, and the main focus was on Georgia’s path to the EU. According to the ambassador, the minister said that Germany wants Georgia to receive candidate status in December this year. “She said that this is what Germany wants, this is what the European Union wants.” The Ambassador stressed that the German Foreign Minister urged the Georgian authorities not to miss this opportunity. “We have an interest in this. The door for Georgia is wide open. The opportunity is now, not tomorrow, not yesterday, but now. From now until December, Georgia must go through this door. There is no back door. There is no side door. You will not be able to slip under the radar, which means we want to see more significant progress on 12 priorities, namely now on the law on deoligarchization,
According to the ambassador, he is confident that a positive decision will be made in December “with the stepping up of the efforts of the Georgian government and the absolute support of the Georgian people.” He also noted that the European Union is an association of countries that share the same values, a common idea of the state and society. “If countries close to us share these values, share history, then we welcome their contribution. You can contribute, and we can contribute to your activities,” the ambassador said.
Asked if one of the aims of the German foreign minister’s visit was to warn the ruling party not to cross red lines amid anti-Western statements by its representatives , the German ambassador replied: “I would not put it that way”, adding that it was “stupid” to accuse Germany or the EU of that they are part of the “global war party”. “Our goal was to prevent this war, and when the war started due to Russian aggression, we tried to limit it, not expand it,” the ambassador said, adding: “We understand Georgia’s weaknesses and limitations very well and respect them.” “. According to him, the West, through sanctions, is trying to show Russia that it will cost her dearly.
In response to a question about the assessment of Georgia’s compliance with EU legislation, which was published in February 2023, as well as Georgia’s implementation of the 12 EU recommendations , Ambassador Fischer said that, overall, the report showed good progress. According to him, “Georgia received 12 recommendations, since an essential part of the criteria is what we call the basic values of a pluralistic democratic society: an independent judiciary, free and independent media, protection of the rights of minorities, and the participation of a vibrant, vibrant civil society in the democratic process.” The ambassador expressed his hope that “Georgia will show more clearly and without any doubts that it is committed to this mainstream of the EU, which implies a stable, pluralistic democracy.”
When asked if he sees the danger of the country moving out of the western orbit if Georgia does not receive candidate status in December , the ambassador said that it is up to the Georgian people to decide which orbit Georgia is in. “We have an interest, we have more proposals, more than just “being in our orbit… we offer Georgia to become a member of our union,” the ambassador said, adding that “it is in our interests that Georgia is not in the orbit of others states”.
When asked whether he considers it necessary to transfer former President Mikheil Saakashvili for medical treatment abroad, the ambassador replied that it is the duty of the Georgian authorities to provide the imprisoned person with proper medical care. “This is a human right… we say to be contacted if we can help in some way. We want to help.”
Regarding relations between Georgia and Germany, in which direction should the two countries deepen cooperation and what will the ambassador recommend to Georgia regarding Euro-Atlantic integration, he said that Georgia should continue to move forward on the 12 recommendations of the European Union and continue the important work that Georgia and NATO are doing together. Referring to bilateral relations, the ambassador said that these relations are developing in various areas, including skills development, training, as well as cooperation in the energy sector and reform of the energy sector, renewable energy sources. The Ambassador stressed the role of business in deepening economic cooperation. “We’re trying to create a supportive framework, and that’s the whole concept of the Middle Corridor. Now Georgia has a huge opportunity to work with neighboring countries to provide logistics, transport, energy at the regional level, as well as all the business and services that come with it. I am sure that German companies will have a great desire to participate in this.
When asked if the EU countries could maintain a firm common position on the Russian-Ukrainian war if the conflict dragged on , Ambassador Fischer stressed that the EU and its economy did not collapse because “it is a fantastic, wonderful idea and an association that people join voluntarily” because they believe in pluralistic democracy. They believe in the free market, they believe in the pooling of resources to work for the common good, they believe in freedom and independence, and what Russia is now offering is, unfortunately, the exact opposite.”
According to the ambassador, the EU will discuss what weapons to send to Ukraine and what level of support they can offer it. “We will defend our core values that are being attacked by Russia.” Peter Fischer noted that, according to his forecast, the European Union will not reduce its support for Ukraine. “Ukraine must emerge from this situation as a state that has its own territorial integrity and the right to self-determination and freedom to decide its own destiny.” The ambassador added that “Russia cannot solve this. Therefore, an attack on Ukraine is an attack on our values.”