On August 13, the European External Action Service published the new report on the implementation of association with Georgia, which found that the EU Association Agreement was an engine for reforms in the country and that “overall the process of aligning national law with the EU law as part of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) is on track and making progress…” However, she also stressed that such challenges as shortcomings in local elections, homophobic pogroms of July 5 and 6, reports on wiretapping sections of Georgian society and other vital issues “threatened to undermine the country’s democratic foundations…”

The document goes on to say: “In 2021, Georgia’s alignment rate with relevant High Representative declarations on behalf of the EU and Council decisions was 53%, down from 62% in 2020. In the first half of 2022, the rate continued to decline to 42%.”

The report provoked reactions from the ruling Georgian Dream Party and opposition politicians.

reactions of the governing party

Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili stated: “We conduct an open and continuous dialogue with the European Union. We actively work with them to overcome any existing challenges. We have a very dynamic process towards the European Union and I am sure that with close coordination we will very soon have concrete, tangible results in bilateral relations between Georgia and the European Union and Georgia will continue to actively move towards the final integration in the EU.”

MP Beka Davituliani noted: “The general assessment of the European Union is that Georgia in the Eastern Partnership was and still is an advanced country in terms of reforms, although they have critical opinions in a number of directions… From their point of view the 12 points the guide that leads to the desired result for you and for us, and we are ready to implement these 12 points and all critical opinions, which were also written down in this conclusion, are reflected in these 12 points…”

reactions of the opposition

United National Movement leader Nika Melia said: “According to this document, Georgia has experienced setback and regression in the areas of democracy, human rights, [and] the rule of the law. According to the report, elections in Georgia are being rigged, journalists, public defenders and civil society organizations are being attacked, [and] there is political persecution in the country and state institutions are being hijacked.”

“This is another statement that [Bidzina] Ivanishvili’s Russian rule is an obstacle for the EU,” he stressed. “Nevertheless, Europe does not give up hope, does not destroy the prospect [Georgia] to become a European country and calls on us to take these 12 steps that will make us part of Europe.”

However, the UNM Chair stressed that “the stateless [Georgian Dream] Party does not intend to implement these recommendations, as evidenced by Russian Dream’s actions and omissions during this period.”

Grigol Gegelia, Member of Lelo for Georgia, remarked: “…We once again heard absolutely clearly that Georgia has fundamental and fundamental problems in the areas of democracy, the rule of law, justice and human rights…this report reiterates very clearly that it is in this direction there will be fundamental changes or Georgia will finally and finally lose its European perspective.”

Strategy Aghmashenebeli’s Paata Manjgaladze said: “They told us that democracy in Georgia is weak, [that] State institutions are weak. There is still talk of a virtual seizure of power and we can make an assessment that oligarchic rule is incompatible with Europe. So if we want to be part of Europe, get candidate status [and] then become members, it is necessary for the people to regain power. Today one person seized power – Bidzina Ivanishvili. Unfortunately, neither Parliament nor the government … say anything.”

Gigi Tsereteli from European Georgia stated: “[Based on the] Policies implemented by the Georgian government, how can this report be positive in any way? I’m not even talking about anti-Western politics… All of the government’s steps practically contradict the guidelines of the EU Commission [and] Candidate status…”

Elene Khoshtaria, leader of the Droa party, emphasized: “…After they told us that, on the one hand, people deserve a European perspective, and on the other hand, that this is impossible in the conditions of the oligarchy, almost two months passed, and after those two months we read a report [which states], not that no progress has been made, but that we have serious errors in all fundamental directions. We are talking about both domestic and foreign policy here.”

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