Speaking of Georgia’s prospects to receive an EU candidate status, ruling Georgian Dream party chair Irakli Kobakhidze has said “if we don’t become [candidate] this year, we will the next year, whenever that will be, we will become a candidate.”
MP Kobakhidze’s remarks came in an interview with TV Palitra News yesterday, where he argued that securing EU membership needs “at least 15 years.”
Citing the experience of Balkan countries, the ruling party chairperson said, “there is no need to be in a particular haste here.”
“We have a concrete agenda, including the Association Agreement that we have currently completed at 45%; it will increase to 70% in two years and to 100% within the next several years.”
Asked whether “no haste” means the Georgian Dream authorities will see “nothing tragic” if the country cannot complete EU recommendations by the end of the year, MP Kobakhidze replied: “We will fulfill everything. We have an agenda. And we will follow every point.”
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MP Kobakhidze also stated that the ruling party’s political council will convene in the coming days to unveil the plan on how the government will proceed with the priorities set forth by the European Council and the Commission for Georgia to secure the candidate status.
Discussing “de-oligarchization,” one of the EU recommendations, MP Kobakhidze ruled out Bidzina Ivanishvili, the ruling party founder, and former Prime Minister, qualifying as an oligarch.
Noting that an oligarch cannot be solely defined by the net worth, the Georgian Dream chairperson claimed Ivanishvili is no longer involved in politics or media.
Instead, he said, politically active imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili, GD’s bête noire, as well as ex-Minister of Defense David Kezerashvili, and Lelo party leaders Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze quality as oligarchs.
On Prospects for Interim Government
Responding to pro-EU protesters’ demands for Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili to resign to pave the way to the technical interim government, MP Kobakhidze said the government “will not allow” protesters to deviate from the Constitutional logic.
He said the Georgian Dream was granted the “legitimacy” to govern the country through 2020 parliamentary and 2021 local elections. “The Georgian people chose Georgian Dream to run the country, this is the constitutional order and its logic, based on which PM Irakli Garibashvili leads the government.”
In a follow-up question regarding civic activists’ plan to rally again on July 3 if demands are not met, the Georgian Dream chairperson said that at “maximum” the protest leaders will be able to gather 10,000 people. He claimed the organizers have alienated supporters by making “political demands” instead of uniting around the European idea.