Edited by Anna Popper

On the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of Georgia, marked every year on the 26 May, the Embassy of Georgia hosted an official celebratory event at the iconic Matild Palace Café in Budapest.

The celebration was attended by senior representatives of the Hungarian legislative and executive authorities, members of the Diplomatic Corps, representatives of business, cultural, academic circles and of the Georgian diaspora. The Honorary Consuls of Georgia in Bulgaria and Montenegro, as well as Georgian nationals from Bulgaria were also present.

After the Georgian and Hungarian anthems H.E. Mrs. Tamara LiluashviliAmbassador of Georgia to Hungary opened the ceremony by greeting the Guest of Honour Minister of Defence of Hungary Mr. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky. In her speech, she praised the dynamism of the diverse Georgian-Hungarian relations and expressed thanks to the Hungarian government for their continuous support by saying:

“It’s a great honour, Mr. Minister, to have you here to celebrate this important day for Georgia. Thank you all for being here this evening. May 26th has the highest significance in Georgia’s history. It commemorates the adoption of the Act of Independence of 1918 that established the first Democratic Republic of Georgia in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.

On this day 105 years ago Georgia gained independence from the Russian Empire, to which it had belonged since the early 19th century. During these often difficult years, the people of Georgia have persevered and overcome many hardships to establish Georgia as a modern and democratic state, built on the foundation of its European history, dating back to the birth of Western Civilization.

Georgia’s ultimate goal today remains the creation of a democratically developed, progressive society and to become a full member of the European family.

Located at a historically vital crossroads connecting East and West, the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, Georgia has a shared consensus on national priorities, including NATO membership and European integration.

I would like to underscore the irreversibility of Georgia’s integration process, which is supported most importantly by the Constitution, by outlining that Georgia’s goal is to be a member of the European Union and the NATO.

Today Hungary and Georgia stand united in the most challenging times with shared Christian values. Both countries share a long history of traditionally close and friendly relations and vibrant cooperation in many areas of common interest. Diplomatic relations between Georgia and Hungary span more than three decades. Recent visits and cooperation between the Hungarian and Georgian governments have resulted in relations between the two states reaching a new level, with Hungary supporting Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, as well as its territorial integrity and sovereignty.

As Georgia celebrates its Independence, we pledge to ourselves, in memory of our ancestors and future generations, to live in an independent and peaceful country.

Thank you again for sharing this special day with us as we celebrate the Georgian nation and its vitality and thirst for freedom. In lieu of Georgian toasting traditions, please raise your glass to Georgia. Gaumarjos!

Happy Independence Day to Georgia and to all Georgians!

Addressing the audience, Hungarian Defence Minister Mr. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky conveyed friendly wishes, progress and prosperity to Georgia, as a strategic partner of Hungary, on behalf of the Hungarian Government. He also reaffirmed Hungary’s unequivocal support for Georgia’s EU and Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Adding that the two countries share much in common in terms of history, culture and geographical characteristics, with special regard to the fact that Hungary and Georgia were able to preserve their unique language and culture amidst the historical and political storms during their long centuries. It was also mentioned that the Minister of Defence was looking forward to an upcoming official visit to the beautiful Georgia in the Caucasian Region.

The official part was followed by a reception with great cultural program, under the motto: When Tradition Meets Modernity – Georgian Jazz & Folk Dance, performed by the world renowned jazz singer Maia Baratashvili and Georgia’s well-known dancer Tea Darchia, their performances were received with standing ovations from the audience. Georgian violinist Mariam Bughadze, a graduate of the Liszt Academy of Music, played pieces by Georgian composers.

The Ambassador expressed her gratitude to a personal friend and host of the wonderful evening, H.R.H. Princess Kristine Bagrationi Mukhrani of Georgia. Adding that Georgia is not an active monarchy but does have a royal family.

The event was generously sponsored by the Department of Tourism and Resorts of Adjara Autonomous Republic and the Georgian wine company KTW, which provided world-famous Georgian wines, highly appreciated by the guests along with the Georgian food specialities.

Long live Georgia!

Source: Embassy of Georgia in Budapest