A group of local civil society organizations monitoring the fulfillment of 12 priorities defined for granting Georgia candidate status held a press conference on Monday to summarize their May 22-25 visit to Brussels and focusing on the challenges highlighted during meetings with EU institutions and representatives of member states.
The CSOs noted that the government’s “efforts and steps taken” to meet various priorities that were put forward for the Georgian government to implement in order to obtain the candidate status, were evaluated more or less positively, but “unfortunately, concerns were expressed about the insufficient fulfillment of such important reform priorities as depolarization, independent judiciary, de-oligarchization, free media and civil society participation in decision making.”
The organizations also said that at the meetings, the representatives of the European Union and member states “emphasized the lack of political will on the part of the Georgian side to carry out these reforms.”
The CSOs noted that the representatives of the EU institutions once again expressed their disappointment over the restoration of direct flights between Russia and Georgia, “as it does not correspond to the spirit of EU accession and contradicts the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union.” “Concern was expressed about the visit of the family members of the Russian Foreign Minister sanctioned by the EU”- they said.
The participants of the Brussels meetings also stressed the inadmissibility of the “aggressive rhetoric” of Georgian Dream representatives against EU institutions and Georgian civil society organizations, which “has intensified after the withdrawal of the Russian law” on foreign agents.
“The European Union clearly sees and appreciates the efforts of the Georgian people to protect the European course of the country; however, this may not be enough to obtain the candidate status, because it is necessary to fulfill 12 priorities, which is primarily the responsibility of the government,” the CSOs said, adding that the Georgian government “should take into account Georgian people’s European aspirations, show political will, commitment to European values and make relevant decisions.”