Georgia fully implements only three out of 12 EU recommendations

Georgia fully implements only three out of 12 EU recommendations
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili claims Georgia has fulfilled 11 out of 12 recommendations. / bne IntelliNews
By Tornike Mandaria in Tbilisi June 22, 2023

Georgia has fulfilled only three out of 12 European Union recommendations to achieve candidate status – gender equality, independent public defender, and compliance with European Court of Justice judgments – according to a leaked report by the European Commission.

The assessment is a blow to the ruling Georgian Dream party, which has been accused by opposition parties and NGOs of drifting away from the EU and towards Moscow, though it continues to push for membership of the bloc. 

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said he remains optimistic about Georgia being granted candidate status for EU membership in the coming months.  “I personally got the impression that we should have quite positive expectations, although there are a lot of things to be decided before then”,  he said. 

Gharibashvili said that during his visit to Brussels he told European Council President Charles Michel and European Commissioner Oliver Varheis that the separation of Georgia would be a strategic mistake of the West. 

The PM claims Georgia has fulfilled 11 out of 12 recommendations, the remaining challenge lies in overcoming polarisation, for which the prime minister holds the opposition responsible.

“I also clearly told our friends that if our wish is to end polarisation, they must give us status, because this is one of the main sources of speculation and polarisation, and if a country gets candidate status, it will automatically at least halve the degree of polarisation”, he said. 

The European Commission's assessment was an oral report presented to the ambassadors of EU member states in Brussels, followed by discussions among the ministers of European affairs at an informal meeting of the EU Council in Stockholm.

The preliminary text of the report covers around two to two-and-a-half pages for each country. The evaluation of recommendations follows a four-element system, categorising progress as "no progress," "partial progress," "good progress," or "done".

Georgia has shown "no progress" in terms of media pluralism, according to the report. It underlines the urgent need to ensure the safety of journalists, enhance the protection of journalism and media owners, and raise overall levels of protection in this domain.

The report emphasises the need for political depolarisation in Georgia, urging an end to harsh rhetoric and the establishment of effective parliamentary oversight and constructive cross-party arrangements. Furthermore, the report highlights the importance of judicial reforms, shifting from a person-centered to a systemic approach to de-oligarchisation, and safeguarding media freedom.