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Opposition Asks EU to Grant Georgia Candidate Status

Key opposition parties and independent lawmakers in the Parliament have made a joint appeal to the EU to grant Georgia the status of a candidate, “which would ensure the democratic development of the country, including the implementation of judicial and institutional reforms and liberation of Georgia from Russian influence.”

The appeal, read out in the plenary hall by Vice-Speaker Levan Ioselian of the Citizens party on May 25, stressed that the country and its people should not pay the price if the EU refrains from granting Georgia candidacy over the “wrong steps of the [Georgian Dream] Government.”

“Despite the problems on the path of reforms and the withdrawal of the ruling party from the [EU-brokered] April 19 political agreement, we, the signatory parties and MPs believe it is necessary to grant Georgia the status of an EU candidate and we express readiness to participate in carrying out every reform that is important for Georgia’s democratic development,” the statement said.

The opposition pointed out that “Georgia is the pro-Western state in the region which has 20% of its territories occupied and has no security guarantees” while the West stands united against Russia amid the aggression against Ukraine.

“The EU granting a candidate status to the Associated Trio countries — Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova — would be a crucial response to Russia, which wishes to divide the world into spheres of influence and estrange the Trio countries from a European future,” the joint appeal asserted.

The opposition outfits said they believe that Russia will fail in “returning Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova back to its orbit.”

“An EU candidate status would give us hope, power and the opportunity to fulfill the historic will of our nations, to become full-fledged members of the European family,” they stressed, adding that a rejection of candidacy would be perceived among the Georgian public as a “rejection of the Georgian people’s will.”

“Joining the European family would be an opportunity to uphold in the country the rule of law, the principle of separation of powers, an independent judiciary, media freedom and universally recognized fundamental human rights,” the opposition groups noted.

European Socialists party, founded by businessmen who quit the Kremlin-friendly Alliance of Patriots, was reportedly the only opposition outfit not to align with the statement. The party told the Georgian-language service of the RFE/RL that it would consider whether to join the statement during its political council meeting.

The joint appeal comes as Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Georgian Dream chair Irakli Kobakhidze have both accused the opposition — without naming anyone specifically — of “campaigning against” Georgia receiving EU candidacy. Some among the opposition have in turn shot back claiming the ruling party was trying to shift the responsibility for a possible rejection from the EU to the opposition.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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