"If Georgia gets candidate status, we will go to elections with a strengthened position" - Speaker of Parliament
Papuashvili on EU candidate status
Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Shalva Papuashvili, stated on “Week of Hope” that if Georgia gets EU candidate status, the ruling Georgian Dream party will go to elections with a strengthened position.
On June 17, 2022, the European Commission prepared an opinion on granting candidate status to Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. Ukraine and Moldova were granted candidate status with the condition of obligation to fulfill certain recommendations, while Georgia first had to fulfill 12 recommendations from the EU and then it will have a chance to get candidate status.
“Of course, the opposition realizes that if the country gets candidate status, firstly, the opposition will be completely discredited and will look like an anti-European force, and secondly, it will certainly strengthen the government.
If there is a positive decision [on Georgia’s status as an EU candidate country] in December, we will immediately apply and get candidate status. And we will realize all the plans that Georgian Dream had in 2020. Of course, this will strengthen the Georgian government and we will go to the 2024 elections with this strengthened position – already in the status of a candidate country for EU membership,” Papuashvili said.
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The European Commission will publish a report on November 8
Reuters quoted EU officials as saying that there is no decision yet on whether Georgia would be granted candidate status. According to the agency, the European Commission’s report, which will be published on November 8, will also include an assessment of Ukraine’s progress on its path to EU membership.
The European Commission’s annual report assesses the progress of countries wishing to join the EU — how close they have come to the economic, legal and other criteria needed to join the bloc.
According to Reuters, following the publication of the assessment, EU leaders will meet at a summit on December 14-15, where a decision is expected to be made on whether to start formal negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU.
So far, Rikard Jozwiak, editor of Radio Liberty’s European bureau, has noted that the publication of the European Commission’s report will be discussed in Brussels on Nov. 8.
“As for Georgia, everyone says that it is very difficult to make a decision here. As for Moldova and Ukraine, everything is clear – almost everyone in the EU says that the EU should start negotiations on their membership. As for Georgia, they say that it is not clear yet, let’s see what happens.”
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Report of the non-governmental sector
The situation has not changed and two priorities remain to be fulfilled – depolarization and deoligarchization, as Vano Chkhikvadze, manager of the European Integration Program, representative of the Open Society Georgia Foundation, said on September 15.
According to the document:
Fully implemented – active implementation of the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
To a great extent implemented – independent election of public defender, points regarding gender equality and violence against women.
Partially implemented – involvement of civil society, work with vulnerable groups, electoral reform, independent judiciary, anti-corruption measures, fight against organized crime, media freedom.
Towards implementation – deoligarchization and depolarization.
According to Chkhikvadze, the final decision belongs to the European Union, which means that the recommendations of the European Commission and the EU are much more important than any other assessment. According to Chkhikvadze, the government did not cooperate with non-governmental organizations during implementation of the recommendations.
Earlier, on September 14, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy Oliver Varheli explained that the Georgian government has implemented only three out of 12 points and stressed that every minute is important now because the report will be ready in October.
Georgian Dream Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze said that the assessment of only three out of 12 recommendations is manipulation. According to Kobakhidze, if we follow the “manipulative explanation, it will turn out that Ukraine has implemented only two points out of seven points” and “showed indifference in general”.