‘This Is Only the Start,’ MEPs Say on Suggested Aid Cut to Georgia, Conditionality

“All political groups agreed that it’s time to introduce the principle of conditionality” for the EU assistance toward Georgia, said MEP Marina Kaljurand, Chair of the Delegation for Relations with the South Caucasus, during an online discussion hosted by the Georgian Institute of Politics, a think-tank, on April 7.

MEP Kaljurand said the move will become necessary if they “do not see a political commitment from Georgian side” in response to the EU’s support for reforms and integration path.

The remarks came in response to reactions by some of the ruling Georgian Dream party representatives, which suggested that the April 1 statement by the leading MEPs on EU-Georgia relations reflected only the views of “six or seven” European lawmakers. In the statement, following another failed round of the EU-mediated political dialogue on Georgia’s political crisis, the MEPs warned about introducing conditionality and suspending EU financial assistance to Georgia.

MEP Andrius Kubilius, another signatory of the April 1 statement, agreed to MEP Kaljurand during today’s discussion. Noting that the statement was signed by representatives of different groups and delegations in the European Parliament, Kubilius said “if such a statement is made by such a group of people, usually that is supported by the majority of the [European] Parliament.”

MEP Kubilius also said that “either Georgia is resolving the crisis,” or it “will pay some price,” recalling that the EU applied the principle of conditionality in the case of Moldova before.

“We were so patient for so long now, that actually we are almost a little bit late with our statement,” said MEP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel today during the online discussion, remarking that “this is only the start.” Von Cramon-Taubadel, who recently paid a visit to Tbilisi, was among the signatories of the starkly-worded April 1 missive.

“Europe will not be endlessly offering its high-level visits, its mediation,” MEP Kaljurand warned as European lawmakers pointed at Brussels’ exceptionally strong commitment to solving the current Georgia crisis.

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