July 10
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Georgia must seize the opportunity presented by the U.K.’s departure from the European Union to push its case for integration leading to membership of the bloc, according to the country’s new president, reports Bloomberg.

“We are looking at this situation with the determination to get the most out of it,’’ Salome Zourabichvili said in an interview in the capital, Tbilisi. “There is a logic that the country that has been steadily moving toward and wanting Europe can’t be treated less than the country that’s steadily moving away from Europe.’’

“Europe has always made progress through major crisis”

Georgia will “continue exploiting whatever might happen with Brexit” to push at the EU’s door at a time when French President Emmanuel Macron is advocating a “Europe of different speeds open to everyone,” Zourabichvili said.

Bloomberg recalls that French-born Zourabichvili, 67, said she differs from her predecessors as head of state because “I am European.” She became Georgia’s first woman president in December. Her background already “plays a role’’ in meetings with EU leaders “because I talk probably in a different way to European partners’’ than previous presidents, she said.

Georgia and NATO

Salome Zourabichvili also touched upon Georgia joining NATO and assured that, militarily, the country is absolutely ready. “If we were to get the Membership Action Plan, everybody knows that we would be ready in two months.” According to her, despite “everyday provocations” by Russian forces based in the territories, “it has not changed an inch Georgia’s determination” to seek EU and NATO membership.

Dialogue with Moscow

As far as relations with Moscow are concerned, Zourabichvili made it clear that there is no sense in direct negotiations. “You don’t get into any formal or informal dialogue with a country that occupies 20 percent of your territory if there are not very clear signs that something is changing,” she said, adding: “There’s no sign of that.”

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