The President of Georgia gave a speech at the official reception regarding the end of  EU Presidency of  Poland

It’s an incredibly great honor for me to be here. The main achievement for the Polish President, he’s had many other achievements, but for me, for us, from our point of view, the main achievement is that if anybody at the beginning of the year had told me that Georgia, somebody would have seriously said that Georgia should become one of the members of the European Union, I would have thought that they were taking me for a fool or they were being irrational. I think Donald Tusk made it happen. He began to talk about it very bravely. After that, President Sarkozy started to talk about it. It became mainstream music in many European capitals. I think the composer of that music was Donald but then it started to be played by other very important performers. And also, we certainly remember very fondly Erzhi’s visit to Georgia. It was a very important moment for us. It’s really an amazing transformation what we are seeing, because back in 90 and 91, I came here as a student and we were at the International University of Human Rights together with many Polish students. Of course, we became friends because it was like we instantly found each other. And you know we received an internship with the Council of Europe. We had to go through a 2 week security clearance; we and Pols, because none of us was a member of that organization, nobody seriously talked about that idea, that Poland or any of us would ever become, we were not even an independent country, a member of this organization. And look where we’ve come from there. From not being able to even enter the building of another organization or of neighbors, to a Pol being the President of the European Parliament and Poland being among the leading countries and to Georgia having a chance to join this institution in future.  And you know the point is that it’s like a fairy tale for adults. Last year my 5 years old son already began to have trouble, big trouble, believing that Santa Claus exists. He asked his mother diligently several times why Santa Claus talks with the voice of my wife’s uncle. I think this year we’ll have a very hard time selling it to him but this isn’t so important. I think what we are receiving from this institution is our dreams coming true. I also have to thank you for the resolution that was adopted. Of course, Krzysztof Lisek nearly has the status of a national hero of Georgia because of this resolution. But he modestly claimed at all times that one hero wasn’t enough. He was saying on Georgian television continuously: “no, no, you have 532 heroes who voted for the resolution. But because we can’t remember, I mean, of course we have the Entire Polish delegation here and we have Almar Brack here who was very active, and we have members of the Socialist group who have also voted for this resolution and many others too, but of course, we can’t remember all 532 names, and Lisek is an easy name to remember after all. I guess he will stay a part of Georgian history and thank you so much for this great initiative.  

This is an amazing coincidence of fate. Poland has a special place in the hearts of every Georgian. And it's amazing, I recently discovered while renovating our capital that basically most of the central part of Tbilisi has been built by Polish architects. When President Komarovsky just came for a visit I had the opportunity to ask him if the historical record was correct and if it really had been built by the Polish. The reason why Pols came to Georgia to build is because we were part of the same empire, but basically the Emperor never trusted the Pols and he did not want to develop Poland. They had to go somewhere else to express themselves. Then the Emperor said: “Ok, Georgia is a nice country, but they will never become an actual people so we can develop that place, we can build things there.”

I think if they were ever to get us back they will stop developing us because they have learned their lesson. I remember very well what Katherine the II told another great European Emperor: “We should never allow Poland to do reforms, because if they do they will never be able to be taken over again.” This is exactly the same in my country. I travel all the time. I was recently to Kirgizstan to meet the young people in a town hall meeting; hundreds of them were live of television. We speak with Ukrainians, Moldovans, everywhere, indeed many Russians talk to me. It is very important that the current processes take place in Russia.

I can tell you that Georgian reforms have really captured the attention of lots of people and of that place. I remember this parallel; I know that any reform that brings us closer to Europe, that brings us closer to a normal rule of law, and a transparent and democratic society might be considered dangerous for some people. But we don't care because after all, Poland accomplished its reforms and Poland made it. We should also make reforms even if a great Emperor or wannabe Emperor somewhere else doesn’t want us to make it. Again you are guiding us, you are helping us, and you are inspiring us. I’m having this feeling of being with my family similar to seeing my cousins, my brothers, my sisters, my very, very close friends. And I will truly be grateful if all of you express a small part of this same feeling to me and my people, because we really want to be Europeans, we want to be loyal Europeans, we are not just Europeans, but extremely enthusiastic Europeans, and because of the geography we have to outperform ourselves to get to you. After all, we have officially been a Christian nation from the 4th century, and for all of these centuries, for all of this history, Georgians have been striving to get to Europe and never making it. Maybe we’ll make it at this time.

Thank you.  

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