Georgian President's new interview: EU membership, Nika Gvaramia and Ukraine in focus
Interview with Salome Zurabishvili
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili gave an extensive interview to Palitra News, in which she answered many important questions.
When asked what Georgia had failed to do to improve its bid for EU membership, the president replied that she had heard “thoughtless statements” about the EU from the ruling Georgian Dream party. In her opinion, other rhetoric could have been used.
Next week, the first evaluation of the European Commission will take place, and then, at the end of June, the decision of the Council of Europe and heads of state will be announced:
“Currently, we sometimes make strange statements about MEPs, sometimes about Europe in general, which is a bit confusing”, says Zurabishvili.
According to her, over the past year and a half, Georgia “did not always take the steps that were expected of it”. As an example, the president cited the April 19 agreement, annulled by the ruling party.
According to Zurabishvili, other “incomprehensible steps” are also noteworthy – for example, taking a loan from the European Union.
When asked what is the logic behind the criticism of MEPs by members of the ruling team and “such anti-Western rhetoric” against the backdrop of the country’s expectation of a decision on its candidacy for the EU, Zurabishvili replied:
“You ask me what makes sense, but you should not be asking me. I don’t see any logic in this, you have to ask those who are making such statements”.
According to her, there are some things that should not be talked about, “because it’s a matter of politeness”. The President is sure that the second issue is the timeliness of all this – “we cannot ignore these statements at this delicate moment”.
Speaking about the European Union, the President reiterated that, despite Georgia’s mistakes, she does not think that the country will be expelled and rejected.
According to Salome Zurabishvili, Vladimir Zelensky should have been invited to Georgia.
“I also think that on May 26, the day that was under the auspices of European integration, on the facade of the parliament, along with the European and Georgian flags, there could have also been flags of Ukraine and Moldova”, the president said.
Zurabishvili stated that there was no threat of a second front and that there were no militant parties in Georgia.
Arrest of Nika Gvaramia
The President of Georgia believes that from a political point of view, the arrest of Nika Gvaramia was untimely:
“Firstly, this is a court decision, and I have no right to evaluate the court decision. As president, I cannot express doubts about the trial. I can only say that the adoption of this decision, which could have been postponed in various ways, is politically untimely.
Confrontation between President Zurabishvili and Georgian Dream
A few days ago, the Georgian Dream chairman Irakli Kobakhidze once again criticised Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, saying that the president’s May 26 statement was a an insult to the justice system. The problem, he says, is that “the president doesn’t know what to say about today”.
This refers to Salome Zurabishvili’s speech at the celebration of Independence Day. The President said that she regrets that “Georgia does not properly continue its judicial legacy”. According to her, “society and generations will not forgive us for having a real chance on the way to Europe, not using it”.
This is not the first clash between the ruling party and the president.
On March 15, Georgian Dream stated that President Salome Zurabishvili had violated the country’s Constitution and would be held accountable in the Constitutional Court. The party cites Salome Zurabishvili’s meeting with Emmanuel Macron, which took place in February as a violation of the Constitution.
In Georgia, there has not yet been a case of an incumbent president being brought before the Constitutional Court for violating the Constitution. The ruling team was also dissatisfied with the president’s annual parliamentary report.
Zurabishvili entered parliament with Ukraine’s interim representative and presented photographs of the war in Ukraine. Zurabishvili demanded that the deputies stand up and look at them. In her speech, she also criticized the government for its ‘cautious’ policy towards Ukraine: “The government sins when it does not dare to speak out what our history and dignity dictate to us”, she said.