MEP Kaljurand: Georgian gov't should choose between two passes - future in EU or back to past
MEP Kaljurand: Georgian gov't should choose between two passes - future in EU or back to past

Georgian authorities must implement EC’s 12 recommendations if they want the country to receive the status of EU candidate, the member of the European Parliament Marina Kaljurand stated at the meeting of the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee in Brussels.

According to MEP, the government and the majority of Georgia should fulfill their promises to their citizens.

“You are familiar with the two resolutions of the European Parliament on the violation of media freedom, the safety of journalists in Georgia, and on the situation of the former president, Mikheil Saakashvili. I hope that we will have an honest discussion today also on some difficult issues.

The public opinion survey commissioned by the International Republican Institute in April showed that an all-time record high of 89% of Georgians approves the goal to join the EU. The government and the majority of Georgia must deliver on the promises, not for us, but first and utmost for their own citizens, who truly aspire to join the EU.

As I said before there is a unique window of opportunity, and we don’t know how long it is open. It may close quickly. So this historical chance should be taken,” she added.

Kaljurand said that years ago Georgia was a leader among the Eastern partners adding that “Georgia is lagging behind Ukraine and Moldova in some key domains”.

“A couple of days ago, I read the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, Shalva Papuashvili, claimed that 80% of the 12 recommendations by the Commission have already been implemented and as a consequence, he is expecting so-called fair assessment by the European partners in the autumn. I’m sorry to say that these claims raise questions considering the evaluation and concerning the information we hear from Georgia’s own civil society, but also from the Commission and Western partners.

Years ago, Georgia was a frontrunner among Eastern partners. The fact is that progress on the 12 priorities is until now incomplete and often superficial. It should also be said that today Georgia is lagging behind Ukraine and Moldova in some key domains.

Members of the European Parliament and colleagues from other EU institutions are tired to hear the officeholders and members of the ruling party claim about so-called efforts to drag Georgia into opening a so-called second front against Russia. This is a Kremlin propaganda textbook. This is not true. We do not wish that for Georgia and its people. None of your friends have ever wished to drag you into another bloody war. We remember the war of 2008.

Georgia is not lagging behind Ukraine and Moldova because its troops do not push back the Russian army from Sukhumi, it is behind because of cases of political justice and the lack of independence of the judiciary, because of the cases of intimidation and violence against independent journalists, because of hate speech against Western diplomats, members of the European Parliament and representatives of civil society organizations, because of the police brutality against people who were peacefully demonstrating against the scandalous draft on Law for Foreign Agents. Because Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili claimed in Budapest that the promotion of LGBT rights is tantamount to, and I quote: ‘the violence of the minority against the majority’, because of the government’s and ruling party’s ambiguous position with Russia, as illustrated by the persistent government’s refusal to align with the EU-led sanctions. and by the recent resumption of direct flights between Russia and Georgia”, said Kaliurand.

The MEP states that Georgia is today at a crossroads.

“The government of Georgia and the ruling party have to choose between two passes. One leads to the future in the EU, the other leads back to the past. The choice is yours. The political responsibility in the eyes of the future generation will be yours. I understand that business with Russia is good and Georgia’s GDP growth last year was impressive, but belonging to the EU is about shared values and commitments and it is not only about GDP growth,” she said.

MEP Kaljurand also focused on the responsibility of the opposition.

“I have said many times that they [opposition] made a huge mistake not going into the parliament in 2019, not joining the mediation. Their participation in parliamentary work and constructive participation in the implementation of the 12 priorities remain essential,” she added.