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David Bakradze's Meetings and a presentation of Georgia's European Ways in the Kingdom of Sweden

On April 27-28, State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, David Bakradze held bilateral meetings with the Minister for Justice and Migration, Morgan Johansson; State Secretary to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Annika Söder and State Secretary to Minister for Home Affairs, Ann Linde within the framework of the working visit to Stockholm, Sweden.

The meetings focused on matters such as Eastern Partnership Initiative, significance and the importance of successful implementation of the Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between Georgia and the EU.

The Government of Georgia was acclaimed on successful implementation of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan and on the demonstrated progress. The sides underscored that visa-free movement will further deepen cooperation between Georgia and the EU. David Bakradze emphasized the urgency of applying respective amendments to the EU regulations in order to ensure visa-wavering for the citizens of Georgia.

The State Minister also met with the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Urban Ahlin and held discussion with the members of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in the Round Table format.

At the meeting in the parliament, the sides deliberated over the ongoing political processes in Georgia, including the preparation for the upcoming elections, present environment in the occupied territory of Georgia, processes in the region and existing challenges.

Representatives of executive and legislative branches of the Swedish Government reaffirmed their firm support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia, and its European aspirations. The Swedish side expressed readiness to support the process of European integration as well as to strengthening of democratic institutions in the country. "Sweden is Georgia's steadfast supporter when it comes to implementing crucial reforms, democratization, human rights and rule of law among other issues. Sweden demonstrates political support to Georgia and shares the importance of visa liberalizations. We talked about the challenges in the region and perspectives that the Government of Georgia offers its citizens resultant to new reforms" State Minister noted.

On April 27, State Minister held a meeting with the Swedish Minister of Defence, Peter Hultqvist. At the working lunch, the sides discussed existing defence cooperation between Sweden and Georgia, and the future perspectives. The talks touched upon Georgia's NATO integration and the security environment in the region.

Within the framework of the visit, meetings were also held with the state secretary to Minister for International Development cooperation, Ulrika Modéer; Director of the Department for Europe and Latin America, Elsa Hostad and Maria Petersson, Head of the Eastern Europe Unit of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

The Georgian side underscored the importance of support from the EU and its Member States in the process of Georgia's modernization and development, in particular, the substantial contribution of Sweden in ensuring the successful implementation of reforms. In this context, David Bakradze extended a special gratitude to the Swedish International Development Agency and expressed hope for further deepening cooperation and developing new instruments.

State Minister also stressed the importance of the Strategic Communication, which aims at increasing public awareness on reforms and the EU assistances. The Swedish side re-affirmed its steadfast support towards Georgia's European transformation as the talks touched upon the process of Georgia's European integration.

On April 28, the English edition of "Georgia's European Ways" was presented at the Swedish Institute for International Affairs within the framework of the discussion "Georgia's European Ambitions and Challenges", where David Bakradze delivered a speech outlining key aspects of Georgia's NATO and the EU integration, Georgia as a model in the region, and the existing challenges in the region. Editor of the book and a writer, Zurab Karumidze discussed the book and explained cultural and historic parallels of Georgia with the rest of Europe, and stressed political-cultural perspectives when addressing the audience.

Representatives of research organizations, Diplomatic Corps accredited in Stockholm and media attended the event. At the end of the presentation, the State Minister and Zurab Karumidze responded to the questions of the audience.

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