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Politicians React to Commission’s Brief on Georgia’s Reform Progress

The European Commission’s long-awaited oral report to EU ambassadors in Brussels on June 21 on Georgia’s implementation of the EU’s 12 conditions for candidacy reportedly states that Georgia has fully implemented three of the 12 conditions (related to gender equality, ECHR judgments, and the appointment of a public defender).

We compiled the reactions from Georgian politicians.

Remarks by the ruling party

Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister: “A few days ago, I was in Brussels. I had high-level meetings… I told them that in the current situation, in the situation we are all in, the world, what is happening in Europe in general, this devastating war in Ukraine, which has completely changed the international order. I told them that in such a situation, splitting Georgia [from Ukraine and Moldova] would be a strategic mistake of the West and would not be in the interest of the West or us. I also clearly told our friends that if we want to end the polarization, they must give us the status [of the candidate]… If the country gets the candidate status, it will automatically at least halve the degree of polarization. Let’s wait for the report… In the end, in October, the European Commission should make a recommendation to the European Council on whether to grant Georgia the status or not. I am quite optimistic”.

Shalva Papuashvili, Parliament Speaker: “We have had positive feedback from Brussels and various European capitals on many issues. It is a fact that the Parliament has worked very intensively on 12 recommendations during these months… More and more often, we hear that there is a realization that the decision made last June was not completely fair, when the leader of the three, Georgia, was treated unfairly and was not given candidate status… Every day we do not have the candidate status is an injustice against Georgia, and we expect this injustice to be soon corrected.”

Irakli Kobakhidze, Leader of the “Georgian Dream”: “We had 12 points to fulfill… All appropriate laws will be passed by the end of this month. There are certain points where we needed the support of the opposition; this is, first of all, depolarization… We could not unilaterally take responsibility for depolarization – while the opposition continues radical actions, depolarization is impossible. But where there was a need for laws to be passed, where officials needed to be elected, we acted responsibly, and all relevant points were fulfilled… Therefore, we have a reason to be optimistic. We hope that this year, unlike last year’s decision, the new decision will be fair”.

Remarks by the opposition

Tinatin Bokuchava, “United National Movement”: “The fundamental reforms that should have been carried out for… Georgia to get the candidate status still are not implemented, and this is what the European Commission itself, which has to decide on candidate status, is saying today… which proves that the government is deliberately sabotaging our European integration”.

Khatia Dekanoidze, the parliamentary political group “Euro-optimists”: “It is difficult to call any of the 12 recommendations fulfilled … because the government is polarizing and radicalizing, restricting media freedom and not de-oligarchizing, there is no political will for it. The most important thing for me was the issue of the courts, and we see that justice, the rule of law, does not exist at all. So Georgian Dream has nothing to boast about in the recommendations part”.

Teona Akubardia, the parliamentary political group “Reforms Group”: “They are attacking the West, the European Union, and they will not recognize the problems their policies have created… In this context, it is important to stop the anti-Western rhetoric that characterizes the Georgian Dream, which attacks the European Union on the one hand and asks for candidate status on the other. Real democratic reforms should be carried out, which, as we have seen, is what the European Commissioner and [EU Council President] Charles Michel are calling for.”.

Aleksandre Rakviashvili, “Girchi”: “The campaign of hate that is taking place in our country and on which our policy is based does not come only from the “Georgian Dream” my colleagues from the opposition also contribute to all this. Therefore, yes, the “National Movement” has its share of responsibility, but it pales compared to what the Georgian Dream has done.

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