'We'd be happy to take their place': Georgia bids to nab UK's spot in EU

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By Euronews
'We'd be happy to take their place': Georgia bids to nab UK's spot in EU

Georgia has made a tongue-in-cheek bid to take the United Kingdom’s place at Europe’s top table.

The country’s pro-EU president, Salome Zourabichvili, was speaking to Euronews at the European elections debate in Paris on Tuesday.

“One thing we do not understand is what Great Britain is doing [on Brexit],” she said. “We will be very happy to take the place left by them.”

While other countries on the fringes of the EU are a battleground for influence between Brussels and Moscow, Georgia is a bit different.

A conflict a decade ago with Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia helped to put Tbilisi on a path to EU membership.

It signed an association agreement with Brussels in 2014 but is yet to request full membership.

"We are in a world where there are many problems. But our answer to the many challenges — and we are living all these challenges even closer than most European countries — our answer to these challenges is to be closer, and to be in Europe," continued Zourabichvili.

"Despite Russia, despite the fact that there was a candidate that was an ex-Russian candidate that was facing me [in Georgia's late 2018 presidential election] Georgia has chosen Europe. Chosen European, the European path.

"And that again, even during and after the war of 2008 with Russia, despite the many daily provocations we have, the Georgian population is one and united with this path. 80% of the Georgian population today, and yesterday, and 18 years ago, is supporting the European way."