Europalia, one of the most important cultural festivals in Belgium, will put Georgia in the spotlight this year. Beyond the desire to promote the culture of this country, the organizers assume the part of “cultural diplomacy” of the event. Georgia wishes to become a candidate for membership of the European Union. And hopes, at the very least, for international recognition of Russian military interference in its lands.
“The Europalia festival has become one of the most emblematic cultural events in Belgium and contributes to its international influence“. The presentation is signed by the Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hadja Lahbib. Europalia will welcome, for its 55th edition from October 4, 2023, Georgia as a guest nation.
Concerts, dance, cinema, literature, theatre, multiple exhibitions… For four months, Belgium will be on Georgian time. “The choice of Georgia as the 55th guest country is an ambitious and fair choice. It is a country at the crossroads of civilizations (…) whose spirit of resilience and national pride have crossed the ages and still beats today in the hearts of Georgians,” explains Hadja Lahbib. The minister also assumes that this event is an operation of “cultural diplomacy“.
Georgia wants to take advantage of Europalia to publicize the country’s political situation
Georgian Minister of Culture Thea Tsulukiani also wants to use Europalia to publicize the geopolitical situation of the country, and its desire to join the European Union. Indeed, if Brussels accepted an accelerated application procedure for Ukraine and Moldova, mid-2022, due in particular to the presence of Russian troops on the spot, Georgia, which had made its application at the same time , in March 2023, remained in the waiting room.
The European Commission has asked the country to make efforts on corruption, governance, democracy… They will be evaluated every year. Europalia is therefore an opportunity for Georgia to push its diplomatic pawns.
“Georgia continues to be militarily occupied by the Russian army. It is a nation that has shaped itself struggle after struggle and which has been able to play a role of bulwark for the rest of the European continent. I hope we can also show how we survive as a tiny nation of 4 million people. We are still there and we are fighting to access Europe“, indicates, combative, Thea Tsulukiani.
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