European leaders agree not granting EU candidate status to Georgia will be “another injustice, big strategic mistake” - PM

  • Garibashvili noted he had talked about a “symbolic” but important decision for Georgia to receive the candidate status, which would take the country to “the next stage”, and added “Georgia is fully ready and in late June we will complete all these priorities [outlined by the EU] and then the choice, the last word will be on Europe”. Photo via Government Administration

Agenda.ge, 1 Jun 2023 - 20:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

The “only correct political decision” in “this difficult geopolitical” situation will be to grant Georgia European Union membership candidate status, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili told the European leaders on Thursday at the European Political Community Summit in Moldova’s capital city of Chișinău. He noted his colleagues agreed that not granting the status to the country would be “another injustice and a big strategic mistake”.

In his remarks to the media after the Summit, Garibashvili emphasised his European colleagues also acknowledged that the international community had not devoted “due attention” to the 2008 Russia-Georgia war by that time, “which was a mistake and we are reaping the consequences of this mistake even today”.

The Head of the Government assessed the meetings, held on the sidelines of the Summit, as “substantial”, and said “naturally”, the main topic of the discussions had been the ongoing war in Ukraine, “which does not stop and no one knows when it will end”, as well as security risks in the Black Sea region and Europe induced by the war, including security challenges facing Georgia.

Participation in a round table format, moderated by his British and Polish counterparts, was also highlighted by Garibashvili, noting that he had “once again” discussed the 2008 war, which led to the occupation of 20 percent of Georgian territories and the placement of military bases by Russia in the country. It was “unfortunate” that no one “took the initiative” to impose sanctions on Russia and take “any serious actions”, the PM stressed to his European colleagues.

Garibashvili noted he had talked about a “symbolic” but important decision for Georgia to receive the candidate status, which would take the country to “the next stage”, and added “Georgia is fully ready and in late June we will complete all these priorities [outlined by the EU] and then the choice, the last word will be on Europe”.

Photo via Government Administration

He also noted that in the bilateral meetings with the President of the European Council Charles Michel and other European leaders, they had expressed “great delight” that Georgia managed to maintain peace and stability despite the existing challenges.

I received a verbal promise from [...] our European colleagues, friends that they will support us when our issue [granting Georgia the status] is considered”, Garibashvili said, noting the international partners recognised the country’s progress and took in mind Georgia’s “very difficult situation”.

The PM highlighted “tangible” results of his Government on the path of the country’s European integration, including the 2014 Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area deal with the EU, visa-free travel and free trade agreements, and the 2022 European perspective”.

He also emphasised the “Government has spared no efforts” for the country to become a NATO member, deploying troops in Afghanistan, Iraq and Central Africa, as part of the bloc’s missions. Garibashvili said Georgia’s “desire and motivation” would yield “concrete results”, adding “we should all do our best together to bring our country even closer to Europe and NATO”.

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