I expect that the assessment of the European Commission will be published in the coming days, – EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell stated this week. “After that, there will be discussions between the member states about a possible decision that they should take. I will not start speculating on the results of the European Commission evaluation and the final decision of the Council. I’ll just say that no matter what the outcome is, one major conclusion will again be the same: it is time for Georgia to start working on ensuring that steady progress is made in terms of what it needs to do to join the EU.”
He noted that the strength of politicians in this matter is certainly the fact that they rely on the majority of the population, which supports this strategic task.
Kobakhidze: European Union has No Reason to Reject Georgia’s EU Candidate Status
“The European Union has no reason to reject Georgia’s EU candidate status, especially if it grants the status to Ukraine and Moldova,” the ruling Georgian Dream party Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze said on Monday.
Kobakhidze said Georgia had achieved “all tangible results” for EU integration under the Georgian Dream government, and “the country is ahead of the other applicant countries in all relevant parameters.”
He also mentioned that “the radical opposition” keeps saying Georgia does not deserve EU candidate status.
“The opposition wants the country to face status rejection, which according to their plan will be followed by public outcry, a UNM-led coup, and the country’s involvement in the war,” Kobakhidze said.
The GD Chair added that he believes granting the status to Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova will send an important political message in two respects: “First, that the EU expresses solidarity with the three countries having territories under Russian occupation. And second, that the EU states are not afraid of a Russian reaction and take a principled position in supporting those three countries,” he said.
EU – The Country’s Historic Chance
MEP Viola von Cramon responded to her meetings with representatives of the Georgian opposition parties Lelo and Giorgi Gakharia’s “For Georgia” in Brussels.
“For the record, in the last weeks, in Brussels, I met two opposition parties from Georgia – Lelo & Gakharia’s For Georgia. Both strongly demanded EU candidacy for Georgia, despite the democratic backsliding, stating it is ‘a historic chance for the country & is above all party lines’,” von Cramon wrote on Twitter.
The MEP thus contradicted the claim of the ruling Georgian Dream party and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili that the opposition campaigned against Georgia’s EU candidacy during their trips to Brussels.
In recent weeks, Georgian officials have said that “certain politicians from the radical opposition are walking in the corridors [of EU structures] and agitating against Georgia’s candidacy for the EU.”
Reviewing Applications from Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia is to Take Place in June
“The European Council takes note of the preparation of the Commission’s opinions on the application for EU membership of Ukraine as well as the Republic of Moldova and Georgia and will revert to the matter at its June meeting,” reads the statement issued after this week’s meeting of the European Council.
“The European Council resolutely condemns Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. It urges Russia to immediately stop its indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure and to immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its troops and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders. The atrocities being committed by Russian forces and the suffering and destruction being inflicted are unspeakable. The European Council calls on Russia to allow immediate humanitarian access and the safe passage of all civilians concerned. The European Council expects international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Convention relative to the treatment of prisoners of war, to be fully respected. It also calls on Russia to immediately allow the safe return of Ukrainian individuals forcibly removed to Russia.
“The European Council hails the courage and determination of the Ukrainian people and its leadership in their fight to defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and freedom of their country. The European Union is unwavering in its commitment to help Ukraine exercise its inherent right of self-defense against Russian aggression and build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future. In this regard, it will continue to work closely with international partners,” reads the statement.
It was also noted the European Council follows closely the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine on neighboring countries and the Western Balkans. It emphasizes the need to provide all relevant support to the Republic of Moldova as it deals with the interlinked energy and economic crises, and migration pressure arising from the war.
“The European Council reiterates its call for an end to repression in Belarus and recalls the democratic right of the Belarusian people to new, free and fair elections,” reads the statement.
US Supports European Aspirations of Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova
Ned Price, Spokesperson for the US Department of State, stated that the United States, as a strategic partner, strongly supports the European aspirations of Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova.
He was then asked by the press whether he believes the three countries would reach this major milestone at this juncture.
“These are questions for those three countries and for the EU, but in the case of all three countries, the United States, as a strategic partner, strongly supports their European aspirations. We have stood by them as they have gone down the path from independence to where they are now, and we will continue to stand by them as they continue down that path,” Price responded.
By Ketevan Shkirtladze