Thousands gather in Tbilisi centre to support country's European course. Photo
Rally in support of Georgia’s European course
“Home, to Europe”, “Onward, to Europe”, “Europe is our home” – thousands of people have gathered in the capital of Georgia with banners conveying their support for the country’s European course.
Protesters demand the fulfillment of the requirements of the European Commission, including “de-oligarchization”.
This is one of the most crowded and large-scale rallies in recent times. Rustaveli Street has been closed for all vehicles.
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The action was initiated by the Shame movement, after the European Commission did not recommend granting Georgia EU candidate status.
According to the June 17 decision of the European Commission, Georgia must fulfil a number of conditions to become eligible for the EU candidate status.
Among them there is a demand for “de-oligarchization”.
“Undertake the commitment to ‘de-oligarchization’ by eliminating excessive influence in the economic, political and social spheres“, the Commission’s assessment reads.
Many people felt that political demands should be voiced at this rally, including early parliamentary elections and the resignation of the incumbent Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, who, according to many, is following the orders of oligarch Ivanishvili.
Protesters believe that the European Commission has in fact addressed the people with recommendations and not the government. Their argument is that the government has already declared a pro-Russian course and will do nothing in the remaining 180 days (180 days – this is exactly the time the government has to follow the EU recommendations and get candidate status – JAMnews).
Georgia submitted its application for EU membership on March 3.
On April 11, it received the first part of the self-assessment questionnaire from the EU. On May 2, the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili handed over the answers to the first part of the questionnaire to the EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell. On May 10, the second part of the completed questionnaire was also handed to Carl Hartzell. On June 17, the European Commission assessed Georgia’s application.
On June 23-24, at the summit, the European Commission will present its opinion on the membership applications of Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. Ukraine and Moldova already have a positive recommendation from the European Commission and a positive resolution from the European Parliament. In the case of Georgia, both documents are negative.