Politicians React to Report on Georgia’s AA Implementation

On 14 December, the European Parliament adopted the report on the implementation of the EU Georgia Association Agreement with 430 votes in favor and 52 against.

The report took a staunchly critical view of the situation in Georgia on many issues including political dialogue and elections, the rule of law, good governance and media freedom, as well as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, among other things.

Notably, it named ruling party founder and ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili as an oligarch called on authorities to eliminate his influence, and urged sanctions to be applied to Ivanishvili and his associates. It also drew attention to the case of imprisoned ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, expressing “grave concern” for his health and calling for his release and treatment abroad.

Below is a sampling of the reactions from across the political spectrum:

Georgian Dream Reacts

Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairperson of the Georgian Dream party, declared, “Can [Raphaël] Glucksmann, [Andrius] Kubilius, Rasa [Juknevičienė], and [Viola] von Cramon be allowed to be the face of Europe? They are not the face of Europe, these are absolutely worthless statements. On one side you have someone who has spent 3 billion, a philanthropist, and on the other side you have a man who has stolen 3 billion and more, and who has killed hundreds of people, and this is the person that should be released? This is shameful… It is unfortunate that Georgian viewers hear this from Europe. How can a person not have an appropriate reaction to this, it’s inconceivable.”

Shalva Papuashvili, the Speaker of Parliament, contended, “Since 2021, there is a group of politicians in the European Parliament who have only one goal, to punish Bidzina Ivanishvili, [and] to return Mikheil Saakashvili to power. This is what we have been watching all these years. Georgian people see this… In fact, this is a group that is not a friend of Georgia, but a friend of Saakashvili. The tribute of the European Parliament was used to spread disinformation as if there is an oligarchic government in Georgia.”

Maka Botchorishvili, a member of the party and the Chairperson of the Committee on European Integration, authored an extensive Facebook post on the report, which thanked all members of the European Parliament who “are sincere supporters of Georgia” and stated that the government “values all the opinions and recommendations of EU institutions that serve Georgia’s democratic advancement and a better future for Georgian citizens in the European Union.”

She underscored, however, that “it is difficult to take seriously those messages of the European Parliament that are devoid of any basis and serve to create and strengthen false perceptions about Georgia based on deliberate damaging campaigns.”

According to MP Botchorishvili, “the process that we have been observing in the European Parliament with regard to Georgia in recent months raises many legitimate questions and provides the opportunity to draw unfavorable conclusions.” She further claimed that it is “heartbreaking” that the European Parliament has been “captured by narrows groups with the intention of realizing their own political interests and goals.” 

In that context, she asserted that there is a group in the European Parliament that “acts under the guise of supporting Georgia and spares no effort to undermine Georgia’s European future, damage the image of the Georgia state by actively participating in disinformation campaigns, and ignore the achievements of the Georgian authorities that should serve as the foundation for our European future in line with the will of the Georgian people.”

In that sense, she recalled the critical resolution on Georgia which was adopted in June and stated that it voiced “absurd accusations” and became the basis for which the European Commission and European Council decided to grant Georgia a European perspective instead of EU candidate status like it did with Ukraine and Moldova.

Oppositions Reacts

Davit Usupashvili, of the Lelo for Georgia party, underscored, “the country now needs positive conclusions and recommendations from the European Parliament, but we must provide such an opportunity for Europe, they will not lie, they will speak the truth. A good resolution will be brought by a good government, a bad government brings a bad resolution. The process regarding sanctions is proceeding in a completely logical way unless there will be serious changes in Georgia.”

Ana Buchukuri, from the For Georgia party, declared, “What is written in the resolution is very serious for the country, and it is the second time that we have seen Ivanishvili’s last name in such a severe form in an official document of the European Union… his negative effects on political and not just political life… Besides Bidzina Ivanishvili, the situation in the direction of democratic development in the country is mentioned in a rather severe form.”

Teona Akubardia, of Strategy Aghmashenebeli, remarked, “We see even deeper concerns of our Western partners about the current processes in Georgia… The deteriorating tone which is reflected in relation to Georgia in the report is, of course, directly related to the revenge and political retribution of the Georgian Dream, which is, in part in relation to Mikheil Saakashvili… [and] the rhetoric and series of attacks.”

Note: This article was updated on 15 December at 16:00 to reflect additional comments.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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