Georgia would like to launch talks on transposing EU law even without the candidate status, Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili said in Lithuania on Thursday.
Addressing an international conference in the Lithuanian capital, the Georgian president acknowledged that the EU had stopped the its expansion, focusing on its internal problems, and so aspiring countries like Georgia had to look for alternatives.
“Since there is no alternative [and] the direct road to enlargement seems temporarily blocked, and Europe seems more focused on internal problems, one has to think differently, outside the box, and be ready for innovative approaches and bold steps,” the Georgian president said during the conference hosted by former Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus.
Under the usual procedure, countries seeking EU membership need to hold negotiations on over 30 chapters of laws, covering areas from agriculture and the environment to free movement of people.
Zourabichvili said Georgia was ready to hold negotiations on culture, education, transport and some economic matters, even if it could not become a full EU member.
“We have to enter through every door, we have to try everything, including things that are not in the books,” she said. “Like starting chapter accession negotiations without a formal status […] trying to get what is real in Europe, getting in [on] all the sectors for which we are already ready – culture, education, social, transport, some parts of the economy, everything but the institutions.”
“At this point it includes everything, except for the right to decide, vote, and be part of the EU’s political decision-making,” Zourabichvili added.
Earlier in the day, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda said that his country “upholds Georgia’s efforts to seek closer integration with the European Union, especially in terms of implementing the Association Agreement”.