U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan has said “the moment is here now for the government of Georgia to work with all the stakeholders, including opposition parties, [and] civil society to address the conditions and recommendations that the European Council gave that is a clear way forward for Georgia to [EU] candidates status.”
“These are the steps that Georgia needs to take. And when that’s accomplished, hopefully before the end of the year, then Georgia too will have candidate status,” the U.S. Ambassador noted in her media remarks in Batumi, Georgia’s coastal city.
“This is a very straightforward response from the European Council, from the EU to Georgia: that Georgia is part of Europe and the EU wants to welcome Georgia in, but needs Georgia to demonstrate its commitment to democracy and to the reforms.”
She said “these are all the same reforms that Georgia has been working on and making progress on and needs to make more progress on now,” adding that “this is the moment for the government and for society to come together to unify for the path to European Union membership.”
The Ambassador’s comments came after the signing of a new program between USAID and the Georgian Public Defender’s Office, where she stressed that the EU has been clear about “the steps that Georgia needs to take” to reaffirm its support for democracy and reforms.
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At a separate USAID Renewable Energy event today, the Ambassador also spoke with the media on the Georgian government’s readiness for reforms.
“We know the government can move very quickly when it wants to pass legislation. We’ve seen that in the expedited legislation last December to abolish the State Inspector Service; you saw it most recently with the expedited legislation on expanding surveillance capacity.”
She said the U.S. stands ready and willing to help Georgia move through reforms to secure EU candidate status. “The next six months will be an important opportunity to get started.”
The Ambassador added, that “there’s no time to waste and there have been many other stakeholders: the people, civil society, opposition parties, and some members of the government as well, who are standing ready to get started on these recommendations.”
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