United National Movement, Georgia’s largest opposition party, will sign the EU-brokered April 19 agreement between the opposition and the ruling Georgian Dream party after months-long reluctance.
Party Chairman Nika Melia said in his address late on September 1 that recent statements by the ruling party refusing EU’s macro-financial assistance led the opposition party to take this step, despite certain “unacceptable” provisions in the document.
The GD’s refusal of the EU assistance was “an open statement” about the change of the foreign policy course and abandonment of the European way by the ruling party, Melia said.
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According to the party chair, the UNM joins the agreement so that “western partners do not distance themselves from Georgian people due to the unreliable government.”
The ruling party came under fire over the past days after its top officials said Georgia would refrain from asking for EU macro-financial loan worth EUR 75 million over its waning economic significance and attempts to avoid “political insinuations.” EU has repeatedly warned about withholding the aid should the GD fail the court reform condition foreseen by the April 19 EU-brokered deal.
Georgian Dream and part of the opposition parties and MPs signed the accord in April to end the post-election political crisis in Georgia, following lengthy mediation efforts by the EU and European Council President Charles Michel in particular.
The UNM refused to sign the document despite ending the parliamentary boycott, pointing at controversial clauses in the document, particularly the one allowing amnesty for “all violations and convictions stemming from the 19-21 June 2019 protests.” Months later, on July 28, the GD unilaterally withdrew from the deal, citing UNM’s unwillingness to join the agreement.