Opposition politicians in Georgia have reacted to the European Parliament’s resolution on press freedom violations in Georgia, which slammed the Georgian Dream authorities over their media handling, fell short of recommending EU candidacy for Georgia, and urged sanctions against ex-PM and GD founder, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Nika Melia, the chairperson of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party, brought attention to the fact that “every political faction, including that of which Georgian Dream is a part [EPP]” agreed on the resolution and the current situation in Georgia.
He said, the message from the European Parliament was clear, “that people are politically persecuted in Georgia, that there is no freedom of speech in Georgia, that we have political prisoners, Mikheil Saakashvili, Nika Gvaramia, and that journalists and people unacceptable to the authorities are hunted in the streets through the instruction of the authorities.”
“This did not happen in a day. By maintaining its power, labeling its opponents as the enemy with a desire to physically destroy them, Georgian Dream was pursuing this result for years,” he emphasized.
Giorgi Gakharia, For Georgia party chairperson and former Prime Minister, stated that the resolution’s main message is neither sanctioning Ivanishvili nor Saakashvili’s imprisonment, but that the biggest threat is that Georgia — the erstwhile leader in the Associated Trio — could get lesser status than Ukraine and Moldova when the EU decides on the three countries’ candidacies.
“There is a real danger that the European perspective of the country, for which our ancestors fought and of which our children dream, will be missed,” Gakharia stressed. “We, the Citizens of Georgia must unite to save the country and keep our children free and maintain a European future at all costs.”
Referring to the arguments heard at the European Parliament, “Lelo for Georgia” Chairperson, Mamuka Khazaradze said the debate “once again confirmed that the Georgian Dream has no friends in the European Union.”
“It was a message, that the EU does not trust the Georgian Dream, but that they support the Georgian people. This is why I am certain we will have progress in this direction.”
“We need to use these two weeks: [GD] must return to the [EU-brokered] April 19 agreement, [it must] repeal the laws in opposition to EU recommendations, and the President should pardon Gvaramia,” Khazaradze urged.
Giorgi Kandelaki, one of the leaders of European Georgia, said “on this road, on the path of the European Union and in general on the path to entry into the civilized world, the biggest obstacle for Georgia is our current government and the steps that it has taken.”
The critical resolution falls as Georgia awaits the European Commission to deliver its opinion on the nation’s candidacy, with the European Council expected to deliver its final decision by the end of June.
The resolution arrives as Georgia awaits the European Commission to deliver its opinion on the nation’s candidacy soon, with the European Council expected to deliver its final decision by the end of June.
Georgia applied on March 3, following the footsteps of Ukraine that sent its application bid to Brussels a few days after Russia’s full-scale invasion. Moldova also signed the application the same day. Unlike in the case of Georgia, the European Parliament has expressed unequivocal support in calling the EU Member States to grant candidate status to Moldova and Ukraine.
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