As Georgia awaits the European Commission’s recommendation on Georgia’s candidacy to become a candidate to join the European Union, we reached out to chief diplomats of the European countries with a few brief questions. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, Margus Tsahkna, responded with his outlook on the EC’s anticipated decision and sent the following message to the Georgian people.
Q: If you were to vote on Georgia’s EU candidacy today, how would you vote?
There are 12 priorities set by the EU to Georgia for getting the candidate status, and the Estonian vote will considerably depend on how the priorities are addressed. If the priorities are fulfilled, Georgia should get the candidate status.
Q: What would make you change your mind (one way or another)?
The quality and pace [with which] Georgia carries out reforms. The reform progress is needed not only for granting the EU candidate status but also to ensure a fulfilling life with a good perspective for all the citizens, including the enterprising people and the youth.
Q: If Georgia does not get the candidate status in December, what do you envisage to be on the table from the EU?
Georgia got the EU perspective in 2022, and it was an unprecedented and historic move by the EU. In case Georgia will not get candidate status this year, the perspective will stay in place. Also, the priorities will stay there to guide Georgia´s way closer to the candidate status: the list of concrete actions EU HR Borrell gave to the Georgian government during his visit in September, the agreement of 19 April mediated by PEC [Charles] Michel, the EU-Georgia association agreement will give you clear guidance.
Q: What is your message to the Georgian people regarding Georgia’s European future?
Georgian people have shown remarkable persistence in their support of Georgia´s Euro-Atlantic integration and European values. Keep on this approach and use all the democratic ways to be part of the decision-making process of your country. Georgia belongs to Europe; you are halfway on your journey to the EU. Estonia supports Georgian EU integration, and we very much want you to succeed. We are constantly ready to share our reform experience and lessons learned on our way to the EU to contribute to Georgia´s EU integration.
Q: What is your message to the other EU members regarding Georgia’s future in the EU?
Estonia has always been an enlargement-friendly Member State. Our approach has not been changed, and it is known to all other EU Member States. Our message is – democratic Georgia sharing European values and coping well with the market economy has a place in the EU family.
Q: Is there a strategic vision of the EU towards Georgia and the region, and how would you describe it?
EU has the vision of having a stable, secure, prosperous, and well-integrated region close to EU borders. This also implies Georgia and the South Caucasus. That is why the EU is promoting good governance, democracy, the rule of law and human rights, security, economic development, transport, and connectivity both in the region and in Georgia.
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