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‘Heart breaking’ – Brussels dashes Georgia’s EU hopes

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Lawmakers in Georgia have been left heartbroken after Brussels dashed the nation’s hopes of a fast entry into the European Union (EU).

European Fee president Ursula von der Layen introduced Friday that Georgia would solely transfer to EU membership candidate standing after addressing sure priorities. 

The Fee as an alternative beneficial a “European perspective” for the small Black Sea nation, in contrast to Ukraine and Moldova which had been awarded candidacy standing. 

“Georgia shares the same aspirations and potential as Ukraine and Moldova,” mentioned von der Layen. “Its application has strengths, in particular the market orientation of its economy, with a strong private sector.

“To succeed, the nation should now come collectively politically to design a transparent path in direction of structural reform and the European Union,” she added.

The Commission would “come again and entry” whether Georgia had met “plenty of situations earlier than granting it candidate standing,” said von der Layen, without specifying when this would be. 

According to a European Commission document, the country must address internal political polarisation, commit to “de-oligarchisation” and carry out judicial reforms before it can join the bloc. 

Press freedoms and the accountability and transparency of state institutions also need to be improved, added the EU’s executive body. 

Leader of the ‘Georgian Dream’ party, which holds the majority in Georgia’s parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze described the Commission’s decision as “heart-breaking”.

“We do realise that Georgia, in contrast to Ukraine and Moldova, has not made mandatory sacrifices in the present day,” said Kobakhidze. 

“The sacrifices and bloodshed 14 years in the past, and even 30 years in the past and 300,000 internally displaces individuals, sadly, have already misplaced their relevance for our European companions,” he added. 

His feedback had been made in reference to the 2008 Russian-Georgian battle and the Moscow-backed separatist area of Abkhazia, north of the nation.

Opposition figures in Georgia used the Fee’s verdict to criticised the federal government. 

Giga Bokeria, who heads the ‘European Georgia’ opposition get together, mentioned the present “regime” was incompatible with the nation’s EU aspirations. 

In the meantime, Nika Melia, chief of the United Opposition Motion, accused the federal government of intentionally hindering Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic path.

Different politicians had been extra optimistic. 

“I need you to completely perceive that Europe didn’t abandon us,” said president Salome Zourabichvili. “Our European perspective obtained recognised. That is one thing that hasn’t occurred earlier than.

“Now we have a list of priorities which need to be addressed, and this is the responsibility of government, as well as the opposition,” she continued.

Frustrations over the ruling were felt in some quarters of the Georgian capital, Tiblisi, with many locals describing it as difficult to hear. 

“I really didn’t like the decision, everyone was saying yes, and now this is what we got, said Lia Partskhaladze, 70, who is a chemist. “We deserved candidacy.” 

Though it could be “better if they granted the candidacy,” Lekhso Khalidashvili, 25, mentioned the choice ought to encourage Georgian lawmakers to do extra. 

“There’s still a lot to be done to achieve the required level, [but] that’s the path we have to take for sure,” said the engineer. 

In 2021, the Georgian government announced its intention to apply for EU membership 2024. This was brought forward to “instantly” after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

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