Georgian ruling party joins EU Ambassador’s calls for opposition to join work for EU integration

MP Mamuka Mdinaradze said GD was joining the calls but had “low expectations” about a part of opposition groups following the diplomat’s appeal. Photo: Georgian Dream press office, 28 Nov 2023 - 18:51, Tbilisi,Georgia

Mamuka Mdinaradze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party in the Parliament, on Tuesday said his party was joining the calls by Paweł Herczyński, the Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, who earlier urged domestic opposition groups to join the Government's work for meeting conditions for the country’s European integration. 

In his press comments, Mdinaradze said GD was joining the calls but had “low expectations” about a part of opposition groups following the appeal of the diplomat, who stressed Tbilisi’s EU integration was a “monumental task” and added “everyone should be involved, and everyone should play its role” in the process.

Mdinaradze cited “previous experience” with the opposition and said unspecified opposition members had been engaged in “anti-state” and “harmful” campaigns over the years, including after Tbilisi’s official application for membership in the bloc in March 2022. The party official accused the domestic politicians of “hampering” the work for EU integration. 

He noted the alleged moves included “fake allegations” about the Government's alleged pro-Kremlin sentiments on the backdrop of the GD authorities ensuring “all genuine progress on the country’s EU path”.

Mdinaradze said the latter accomplishments included the visa-free travel with the Schengen Area countries, free trade deal and Association Agreements with the EU, the European perspective granted to the country last year and the expected EU membership candidate status in December. 

The lawmaker claimed a part of the opposition had been engaged in the “destructive process” through “hired lobbyists and their own efforts”. “If they just sit and do nothing, it will already be a help [for the Government] in meeting conditions [for the status]”, he said. 

Following the Government’s approval of an action plan for implementing conditions for the status on Monday, Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili stressed the “main spirit” of the document involved the Government’s expression of its readiness to “cooperate closely with all interested parties” for the country’s further integration into the bloc. 

The Commission earlier this month said it was recommending the EU candidacy for Tbilisi with nine conditions for opening accession talks with the bloc later, with the priorities ranging from efforts to combat disinformation and foreign information manipulation about the EU and its values, to further alignment of the country’s foreign and security policies with the bloc, to reforms in the judiciary, electoral and human rights areas.

The conditions - a number of them from the original 12-point reform agenda of 2022 - also include ensuring a systemic approach to deoligarchisation, additional efforts for depolarising the domestic political environment and improvements to the Parliament's oversight function.