President of the European Council Charles Michel has said the EU’s strategic decision-making branch recognized the European perspective of Georgia and is ready to grant candidate status once the “outstanding priorities” are addressed.
“Congratulations to the Georgian people. A historic moment in EU-Georgia relations: Georgia’s future lies within the EU,” President Charles Michel tweeted.
On their part, Georgia’s Associated Trio erstwhile partners, Moldova and Ukraine have been recognized as EU candidate countries, President Michel also reported.
“A historic day,” Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili reacted on Twitter, adding: “Now, we’re ready to work with determination over the next months to reach the candidate status.”
“By being granted a European perspective Georgia entered a new, important phase on the [EU] integration path. We’re grateful to [the European Council] for this decision & believe, through relentless efforts we will regain our deserved place in the EU family,” tweeted Georgia’s Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili.
“This is indeed a historic day for [Georgia],” Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili was the latest to react to the news. “We are ready to implement all priorities in order to get the candidate status soon.”
With its decision, the European Council shared the opinions of the European Commission, which recommended candidate status for Moldova and Ukraine with an understanding that the countries keep committed to reforms, while Georgia was recommended to meet a set of priorities first.
- Tens of Thousands Rally in Tbilisi to Defend European Future
- European Commission’s Recommendations for Georgia
- Full text — European Council’s Conclusions, June 23
Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia “all have work to do before moving to the next stage of the process. I know that they will move swiftly,” tweeted Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. “They know how crucial this is for their democracies, their economies and their citizens.”
Congratulating Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Moldova’s Maia Sandu, and Georgia’s PM Irakli Garibashvili, President von der Leyen tweeted: “Your countries are part of our European family. And today’s historic decision by Leaders confirms that.”
The European Commission will assess Georgia’s implementation of recommendations and conditions by the end of 2022, meaning the Georgian authorities – which are increasingly coming at odds with Brussels and other EU capitals — have some six months to secure a candidate status.
Earlier, PM Irakli Garibashvili hailed the Commission’s recommendation to grant the country “the European perspective” as a historic decision and pledged to work with Brussels on the reforms agenda.
But the PM, as well as his Georgian Dream colleagues, fell short of acknowledging — at least publicly –that the shortfalls in democratic performance and his government’s controversial rhetoric may have given some clues as to why Ukraine and Moldova received better deals.
PM Garibashvili reiterated, that Ukraine received the status as it is at war with Russia, while Moldova was given candidacy as “prepayment” for being severely affected by the hostilities across the border.
More to follow