Politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties today issued varied responses to the report by European Parliamentary Research Service, which said among others that “Georgia has seriously backslided with respect to the basic democratic principles.”
Georgian Dream chair Irakli Kobakhidze seemingly dismissed the contents of the document, prepared for the European Parliament, stressing that “separate reports cannot be a guidebook for us.”
“We will rely on the official positions and statements of the EU on any topic,” the GD leader instead argued, adding “EU’s position on all issues is key for us.”
Rebuffing the report’s critical assessment of the state of rule of law in Georgia, MP Kobakhidze claimed that “the quality of democracy in Georgia is of a very high degree.”
“In this regard, we have sound arguments and if anyone will be interested to hear them, we will of course share these arguments,” he added.
Meanwhile, the opposition politicians largely agreed with the report. Chair of the United National Movement party’s parliamentary faction, Khatia Dekanoidze said that the key takeaway from the document was that “democratic institutions are unfortunately getting weaker in Georgia.”
“This is extremely important,” she stressed, arguing that weakening of the institutions would hinder Georgia’s European integration. “When such severe processes as democratic backsliding are being discussed, it means that Georgian Government itself is creating the obstruction to EU integration,” the lawmaker added.
MP Davit Usupashvili of Lelo said that “undesirable events and policies by the Government do not evoke additional enthusiasm in the EU about the quality or the readiness of our democracy.”
In this context, the Lelo lawmaker named the Georgian Dream’s unilateral withdrawal from the EU-brokered April 19 agreement and the preemptive refusal of the EU loan conditioned on court reform in 2021 as key examples.
Still, MP Usupashvili argued that Russia’s bloody invasion of Ukraine “has created a certain window of opportunity” for Georgia to join the 27-member bloc.
“Sending an application that you wish to become a member means nothing,” he stressed, however. “It should be confirmed with actions that Georgia adheres to European principles and values.”
Assessing the report, MP Iago Khvichia of the New Political Center – Girchi said his part that “there is no one left in the world who thinks that everything is order in Georgia in terms of democracy.”
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