Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili responded to the European Council’s decision to grant Georgia European perspective and called it a “well-deserved achievement.”
The PM stressed that the government is ready to implement all of the reforms recommended by the European Commission as a precondition to the country being granted EU candidate status.
PM Garibashvili expressed hope that regarding one of the Commission’s conditions – the end of political polarization – the opposition, too, will realize its responsibility and place the country’s interests above their own ambitions.
The PM’s Briefing
“As European leaders and our partners, our friends, noted, yesterday was a truly historic day,” the PM remarked.
“It was recorded directly, openly, and publicly that in fact, Europe opened the door to our country,” he said. “This is the recognition of the aspirations of our people towards European ideals, their commitment, our perseverance, principles, struggle, and the result of our government’s work over the last 10 years.”
The PM added that by “permanently” opening the door to Europe for Georgia, the perspective was granted for “the country to become an EU member state.”
“Regarding candidate status, yesterday we heard the assessments of European leaders, their promises and statements, that as soon as we complete the priorities they outlined, Georgia will receive candidate status,” the PM said.
He stressed that this gives “additional motivation to fulfill every condition and priority that was outlined by the EU in as short a time as possible.”
On this point, the PM promised that the “government is mobilized to complete all of these conditions in a timely manner.”
The PM congratulated Ukraine and Moldova on being granted status albeit as “an incentive and gift.”
“Ukraine, you will remember, is in a terrible war, and Moldova is in a very tough position too,” the PM noted, “so we are not jealous of the incentive given to them, on the other hand, I would like to once more congratulate them and wish them success.”
PM Answers Journalists’ Questions
In his answer to a question from a TV Imedi journalist on how authorities plan to fulfill the recommendations regarding ending polarization in the country, the PM, without offering concrete steps to his opponents, said that the ruling party is ready for constructive dialogue and noted that without the opposition, they will achieve nothing.
Regarding the government’s responsibility for Georgia not receiving candidacy, the PM responded that the authorities took every possible step for European integration. In reference to the status itself, the PM emphasized, “We never gave any guarantees to anyone.” “How could we have given a guarantee instead of Europe, this would be wrong.”
When asked if he planned to leave his mandate after failing to secure candidacy, the PM said “I do not plan to [leave], this is totally absurd. On the contrary, our responsibility is to fulfill all of the conditions that our team chose to take on to fruition.”
When asked about his earlier threats to “lift the curtain on everything” if the EU decided “unfairly” on Georgia’s candidacy, the PM explained that he had “deliberately” made the statement after the European Parliament adopted a “completely offensive and unfair” resolution.
“Had it not been for mine and my team’s principled attitude and public statement’s towards Europe, it is possible that today Georgia would not have received this deserved European perspective,” he added.
To a question from a Mtavari Arkhi TV journalist about de-oligarchization and political prisoners, the PM remarked “our country does not have political prisoners.”
As for de-oligarchization, he emphasized that the ruling circle would speak with Brussels about “their concrete expectations and how we can proceed with passing this [anti-oligarchy] law.”
The PM stressed however that Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder of GD, is not an oligarch but rather “one of the biggest philanthropists” that Georgia has had.
“He has no role whatsoever in politics, and all accusations in this regard are baseless and slanderous,” the PM added.