Kelly Degnan: U.S. supportive of Georgia getting candidate status
Kelly Degnan: U.S. supportive of Georgia getting candidate status

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, on Wednesday, stated that “the United States has been a very strong supporter of Georgia’s EU membership, and we are very supportive of you getting candidate status.”

Asked about the effect of visa designations on Georgia’s EU membership efforts, Degnan noted that “these visa designations, which are mandatory under United States law, once we have sufficient credible evidence of involvement in corrupt acts, are an opportunity for the Georgian authorities to demonstrate their commitment to fighting corruption and to truly establishing an independent, impartial judiciary here.”

“In December, we will be celebrating with you 100 percent when that happens. This is obviously a difficult process that will take all Georgians working together to demonstrate to member states that Georgia is truly committed to the hard work that’s involved in being eligible for EU membership, including candidate status.

There have been some very good work done by Georgia over the last few years on judicial reform, but we have seen in the last four years a lack of political will to follow through on the kinds of meaningful reforms that would truly transform this judiciary into an independent judiciary. That is why there remain five Venice Commission opinions, recommending over and over the steps that Georgia could take if it wants to truly create the space for judges to operate independently and impartially within the judiciary. Georgia is fortunate to have many good professional judges. They want to do their jobs without interference from political figures or business figures, and I think they deserve that. That is what we recommend. That is what the European Union recommends. That is what the Venice Commission recommends. All that is lacking is the political will to follow through on these important reforms.

So, we will be celebrating with all of Georgia in December when that candidate status decision comes, and we will support you in the hard work that is going to take over the coming months,” she asserted.