Georgia, Tbilisi, Nov. 18 / Trend N. Kirtskhalia /
Georgia should make a formal application for EU membership, EU President Jose Manuel Barroso said at a joint press conference with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Brussels. The briefing was shown on Georgian television channels.
"This will further deepen relations between Georgia and the EU, and make your country more attractive in the sphere of energy investments," Barroso said.
He reiterated the EU's commitment to Georgia's territorial integrity and its sovereignty.
"The EU will never accept the occupation of any part of Georgia and calls on all countries to recognize Georgia's territorial integrity," Barroso stressed, noting that this position "will not change."
Barroso called Georgia a major EU partner.
"Our bilateral relations are developing in a positive direction and are progressing," he said, noting that the agreement signed in June on Georgia's associated membership in the EU envisages the introduction of a free trade regime and visa facilitation.
Saakashvili, in turn, thanked Barroso for his support and noted that Georgia will strive for EU membership.
"This is our geopolitical choice and we will not deviate from it," Saakashvili said.
He stressed that Georgia is holding intensive reforms in hope to join the EU.
"Of course, it is a long process, but we are doing everything to accelerate it," he said.
Saakashvili will attend the NATO summit on Nov. 19-20 and hold meetings at the EU headquarters. He will address a meeting of the European parliament on Nov. 23.