“The European Union pays USD 1 billion to Russia every day. Since the start of the war [in Ukraine], USD 90 billion went to Russia as a result of EU-Russia trade,” Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said in an apparent attempt to justify his government’s controversial refusal to join sanctions against Russia.
“And what about us, do we not have our national interests? Or are the Georgian people supposed to remain patient and get oppressed, become involved in the war, lose territories, and [lose] our statehood?” the Prime Minister wondered.
“We will raise these questions more loudly. We are waiting for fair decisions [from the EU on our candidate status],” PM Garibashvili added at the government meeting on June 13.
Citing the increase in foreign trade, foreign direct investments, and strengthened national currency Lari, PM Garibashvili asserted that “no one can imagine all this happening in case we introduced economic sanctions. It would mean halting trade and economic relations with Russia. “
In his monologue, PM Garibashvili also questioned if anyone considered how Georgians living in Russia would be affected if the government decided to impose sanctions on Russia. “Does anyone even remember, how these people work and live in Russia?! What fate awaits them?!”
The PM’s statements come in light of the European Parliament’s recent critical resolution on media freedom in Georgia, which also called for sanctioning Bidzina Ivanishvili, ex-PM and Georgian Dream founder, over his “destructive role” in Georgian politics..
The European Commission is expected to unveil opinion on Georgia’s candidate status in the coming days. Politico Europe outlet said, citing internal sources that say while Ukraine is likely getting status and Moldova receiving it with certain conditions, the “jury is still out” on Georgia.