PM Says Brussels-based Think Tank Article “Scribble”

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has dubbed as a “scribble” the recent article published by the Brussels-based Center for European Policy Studies, advising the EU against opening the accession process for Georgia.

The article, authored by CEPS Associate Michael Emerson and Researcher Steven Blockmans on May 20, spoke of “interference in high-level judgments concerning opposition politicians and leading media personalities,” including the recent sentencing of government-critical Mtavari Arkhi TV chief Nika Gvaramia.

It argued that the Georgian Dream Government “has for years been contradicting EU’s fundamental values on the functioning of democratic institutions,” and claimed that political power in Georgia is in truth concentrated in the “hands of an unelected, unaccountable oligarch, [ex-PM] Bidzina Ivanishvili,” the GD party’s founder.

“Seeking a rationale, the membership application can be viewed as a symbolic and superficial tactic to try to satisfy the large majority of Georgian public opinion that wants a European future,” the opinion said.

“At the same time, the leadership seems to have no interest in making a success of the accession process and is proceeding in ways that would precipitate its failure,” the article added.

PM Says Article Penned by Opposition Leader

“I am not interested at all who wrote, to be more accurate, who scribbled what,” Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili told reporters on May 21.

The Prime Minister claimed he had “heard” that the piece was in reality co-authored by Elene Khoshtaria, opposition leader and chair of the Droa Party.

He further argued that the article was “another confirmation” of the GD’s claim that the opposition leaders — “anti-state, hostile forces” — are trying to convince the EU not to grant Georgia the status of a candidate.

The PM also claimed that “very prominent leaders” of the EU had told him during his recent trip to Brussels that Georgian opposition leaders had visited the European capital to lobby against a “positive decision” on Georgia’s candidacy.

“This kind of destructiveness, such hostility for our country is simply, a crime,” PM Garibashvili concluded.

Georgia submitted its formal application for EU candidacy on March 3, in the footsteps of Ukraine which filed its application after the Russian invasion of the country. Moldova followed suit on the same day.

Georgia gave in the second part of its EU Questionnaire on May 10 and is awaiting the European Commission’s opinion in June.

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