Ruling party MPs urge opposition leader to name politicians “hampering” country’s EU candidacy

Ruling party MPs claimed Samnidze’s allegations “confirmed” the opposition’s “harmful actions” against Georgia’s EU integration. Photo: Parliament press office, 25 Oct 2023 - 13:17, Tbilisi,Georgia

Lawmakers from the ruling Georgian Dream party on Wednesday urged Khatuna Samnidze, the head of the Republican Party in the Parliament, to name domestic opposition representatives she accused on Tuesday of taking actions to “hamper” Tbilisi’s obtaining of the European Union membership candidate status in December. 

In her comments, the opposition MP claimed unidentified members of domestic opposition groups had “particularly intensified their efforts” over the recent months against Georgia’s EU candidacy, which she said had been “confirmed” by European partners. 

Reacting to the claims, Rati Ionatamishvili, a GD MP, said it was the “first recognition” by the opposition member about her colleagues’ “harmful actions” against the country’s EU integration, and called on Samnidze to name them “as the public should know who they are”. 

Anri Okhanashvili, a fellow MP of the party, said Samnidze had “confirmed” what his party had said over the months, and added GD members had been “informed” by European partners of opposition MPs being engaged in a “malicious campaign” against the state. 

Davit Matikashvili, another GD lawmaker, added Samnidze's statement was “equivalent to a confession”, and that certain domestic opposition groups were trying to “catch fish in murky water”, which he said they would not achieve. 

Irakli Nadiradze, a representative of the United National Movement - the largest opposition representation in the legislative body and labelled a “radical force” by GD - on Wednesday claimed his party was only “ensuring” EU structures granted Georgia the requested status, while also urging Samnidze to name the individuals in her claims. 

Georgia officially requested EU membership in March 2022, shortly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, along with the latter and Moldova. 

In its decision in June of the same year, the European Council granted Ukraine and Moldova the bloc’s full candidacy, while Tbilisi obtained only a European perspective and a reform agenda to fulfil for the EU candidacy. 

The Georgian Government called the bloc’s decision “historic” but “unfair and not merit-based”, while officials from the ruling party have said they hope the country will be granted the “deserved” status later this year. 

The European Commission has been scheduled to present its final report on Georgia’s implementation of the outlined conditions in early November, with the European Commission using the document in December to decide on the status.