Georgia “will be ready” to get EU candidate status this year - ruling party head

Irakli Kobakhidze said the Government expected a “fair decision” by the EU this year. Photo: Georgian Dream press office, 14 Sep 2023 - 17:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

Iraikli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Thursday claimed the country would be “ready” to obtain the European Union membership candidate status by the end of this year.

Kobakhidze said “only a few issues” related to the fulfilment of the 12 conditions outlined by the bloc last year for granting the country its candidacy remained to be resolved. 

In his press comments, the official pledged to update the public over the implementation of the conditions in the coming days, noting the Government was expecting a “fair decision” by the bloc on the country’s status in December. 

Pawel Herczynski, the EU Ambassador to Georgia, on Thursday recognised the country’s “obvious progress” in fulfilling the conditions that were partially met in the European Commission’s oral assessments at the end of June. 

He stressed all priorities were “equally important”, but the EU “especially expected” progress on deoligarchisation, domestic judiciary and media freedom.

There are about four weeks left before the release of the expansion report, and three months before a final decision is made [over Georgia's candidacy]. What we expect from Georgia is to accelerate and achieve as much progress as possible”, the diplomat said. 

The 68th session of Georgia’s Commission for European Integration, chaired by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, on Thursday adopted a deoligarchisation action plan, which the Government claimed was in “full compliance” with the bloc’s requirements and the opinion of the Venice Commission of the Council in Europe. 

Authorities said the document involved a “systemic” approach to the issue, as recommended by Venice Commission, and covered seven different directions including anti-corruption and anti-monopoly efforts, media pluralism and the area of the judiciary. 

The European Council has been scheduled to decide on Georgia’s stats in December, following the final report and the recommendations by the European Commission in October on Georgia’s implementation of the reform agenda.