Georgia Has Opportunity to Accelerate EU Membership - US Ambassador
Kelly Degnan on Georgia’s EU Candidate Status
Georgia has an opportunity to accelerate its accession to the European Union, and the prospect of obtaining the status is very close, US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said at a meeting with students of Caucasus University.
“A year ago, no one would have thought that this was even possible. And today you are already on this path. The European perspective is a huge step, and Georgia’s candidate status is very close. The European Union has provided you with a road map and the United States supports you in making this a reality. The future of your country is in your hands. You have a chance to shape the future of this country the way you want it. That is why I encourage you to never give up. This is both your opportunity and your responsibility,” the ambassador said.
Degnan talked about the situation with ex-president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. According to her, “it is necessary to put his health above politics.” According to the ambassador, the United States is closely following what the Public Defender of Georgia says about the Saakashvili case. As Degnan notes, Georgia is lucky to have such a courageous ombudsman in the person of Nino Lomjaria, who is trying to collect all the facts on this case:
“There is a lot at stake, sometimes it feels like people forget that a human life hangs in the balance. And this is the main value. In my opinion, the government should take responsibility for ensuring that Saakashvili gets the help he needs.”
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On December 14, the European Parliament adopted an annual resolution on the implementation of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union. Before adoption, the European Parliament also voted for separate amendments, most of which were supported by deputies.
The resolution also includes a compromise document adopted in November, according to which the European Parliament recommends stopping Bidzina Ivanishvili’s excessive influence on the country.
According to one of the new amendments, MEPs urge, in the face of Ivanishvili’s too strong influence, “to take appropriate measures, including the imposition of personal sanctions against Ivanishvili and all those who are to blame for the deterioration of the democratic regime in Georgia.”
The European Parliament once again calls on the authorities to release former President Mikheil Saakashvili and give him the opportunity to receive medical treatment abroad on a humanitarian basis, in order to reduce political polarization in the country.
In addition, the December 14 resolution calls on the Georgian authorities to stop politically motivated criminal cases and reconsider cases against media workers and owners critical of the government and their families. The ruling explicitly mentions the case of the founder of the main opposition TV channel Mtavari Arkhi, Nika Gvaramia.