At an annual Georgia-NATO Interparliamentary Council (GNIC) meeting in Brussels on 22 February, Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam (France), President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), reiterated the Assembly’s steadfast support to Georgia, its sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as its Euro-Atlantic integration path.
The meeting brought together 6 members of the Georgian delegation to the Assembly, headed by Irakli Beraia, with the NATO PA President and Vice-Presidents Zaida Cantera (Spain) and Nicu Falcoi (Romania).
“The Euro-Atlantic area finds itself at a crossroad,” stressed President Garriaud-Maylam. “The war Vladimir Putin is waging in Ukraine [...] is also a war directed at democracy itself and at the freedom of nations to determine their own system of government and foreign policy course,” she said. “All democratic forces must rally behind Ukraine’s cause.”
Equally, “Allied governments and parliaments must also continue to stand by our partners who are the most vulnerable to Russia’s scheming.”
Just last week, Allied Defence Ministers agreed to step up tailored support to enhance their defence capabilities, resilience and interoperability with NATO. Support continues through the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), which was refreshed in December 2020. Georgian members received extensive briefings about the SNGP and the NATO-Georgia partnership during their two-day study visit to Brussels, which included the GNIC meeting.
Georgia has set membership in NATO as its strategic objective. President Garriaud-Maylam reiterated the Assembly support for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations and trajectory, recalling that at NATO’s 2008 Bucharest Summit, Allies welcomed both Ukraine’s and Georgia’s NATO membership ambitions and agreed that they would become members of NATO.
“I would like to see our governments able to take next steps concerning Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration path,” she underlined. “But, at the same time, Georgia must do its homework”, the President underscored. NATO PA members engaged in a frank and open exchange with their Georgian counterparts about issues of concern and the need to advance Georgia’s democratic reform process.
GNIC serves as a counterpart to the NATO-Georgia Commission which oversees NATO’s partnership with Georgia. The Council meets twice a year to discuss and assess NATO-Georgia relations and issues of common concern. The GNIC meeting took place on the heels of the Assembly’s annual Joint Committee meetings and as part of a two-day study visit for members of the Georgian delegation to the NATO PA. Georgian members engaged with Allied and NATO officials on a range of topics, including the Alliance’s political agenda ahead of the 2023 NATO Vilnius Summit, political and military adaptation under the new NATO Strategic Concept as well as NATO’s policies on hybrid challenges and resilience. They also tackled questions of cyber and hybrid policies and governance with experts from the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF) and NATO.