30 Georgian civil society organizations called on the Georgian Government on May 2 to release the answers they submitted to part one of the EU membership questionnaires.
The appeal comes after the government refused to release the answers on April 29, with Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili saying it would be inadvisable to make the response public.
The CSOs pointed out that in line with Georgian legislation, public information can be made secret only if it is considered to be a professional, personal, commercial, or state secret.
The nonprofits thus asserted that the Government should either make the document public or reveal the legal grounds which justify their refusal.
According to the third sector, the need to publish the response stems from a high level of interest from the public in the country’s European aspirations. In this context, they said that 88% of Georgians support the EU integration, citing a public opinion survey.
The Government should redact the sections to be kept secret, in line with Georgian and EU laws, and release the rest of the document, the signatories suggested.
The 30 signatories included key local watchdogs, Transparency International Georgia (TI), The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), and Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF). See the full list here.
- Georgia Submits Part of EU Questionnaire
- Second Part of Georgia’s EU Questionnaire Released
- Georgia Receives EU Membership Questionnaire
The third sector, as well as opposition lawmakers in Georgia, faced similar resistance from the Government in April, when they requested the release of the contents of the first part of the questionnaire.
Subsequently, they appealed to the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, Oliver Várhelyi to ensure the transparency of the process. The Government ultimately released the questionnaire on April 15.