Take a Step Towards Europe – a new Civil Society initiative
In anticipation of EU candidate status, local civil society representatives, journalists, artists and public figures have united around a new initiative – Take a Step Towards Europe.
The presentation of the new initiative took place in Tbilisi on May 27, its authors presented a 9-point manifesto, which refers to Georgia’s “European path”.
According to the statement: “A historical stage is coming for our homeland. In a few weeks, it will be decided what the future will hold for us and our children. Today is the time when we, all living generations of this country, no matter how frustrated and tired we may be, must decide whether we want Georgia, its people, its ancient culture and its tireless pursuit of development to take on the new impetus and continue our path as a state and nation.”
“If tomorrow is a continuation of the proud path of our country and people, because dignity and freedom are the way of life of Georgians, and we can not live differently – we will choose the European future of Georgia!” – The appeal states
The European-Georgian Institute also joined the 9-point manifesto.
The opposition asks European Union to grant Candidate status to Georgia
Parliamentary opposition parties and independent members of the Parliament have issued a joint statement calling on the EU to grant Georgia candidate status, “which will ensure the country’s democratic development, including the implementation of judicial and institutional reforms, and the liberation of Georgia from Russian influence.”
A joint address read by Levan Ioseliani, vice-speaker and member of the Citizens’ Party in the parliament hall on May 25, stressed that “Georgia and the Georgian people should not pay such a high price for the wrong steps taken by the government.”
The opposition stressed that when the West is united against revisionist policies of Russia in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, “Georgia is a pro-Western country in the region, 20% of which is occupied and has no security guarantees.”
“Joining the European family is an opportunity to uphold the rule of law, the principle of separation of powers, an independent judiciary, media freedom, and the fundamental rights of the universally recognized human beings,” the statement said.
Irakli Kobakhidze: Opposition is campaigning against Georgia’s candidacy for the EU
Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party, said on May 23 that opposition parties were “agitating against Georgia’s candidacy for EU membership.”
He also noted that “only those who want to cause unrest in Georgia and involve our country in the war can be against Georgia’s acceptance of EU candidate status.”
In this context, the chairman of the ruling party said that the Georgian Dream has “specific information that certain politicians from the radical opposition” are campaigning against Georgia’s candidate status in Brussels. He was probably referring to the visits of Lelo and For Georgia party members in Brussels.
“We see that foreigners also have a feeling of dissatisfaction, which they often point out to us in public or at official meetings. However, unfortunately, we can not hear the arguments from them either,” said the chairman of the ruling party. “We wonder why their rhetoric and that of the UNM are similar. Therefore, it would be good for them to list what we should have done and what we did not do to support Ukraine. “
Shortly before Irakli Kobakhidze’s new accusation against the opposition, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said on May 21 that “anti-state, hostile forces” were trying to persuade the European Union not to grant Georgia candidate status.
The statement of the chairman of the Georgian Dream was followed by a quick reaction from the opposition. MP Levan Bezhashvili from the United National Movement said that with this statement the ruling party is trying to blame the opposition for their own possible failure.
Lelo MP Salome Samadashvili criticized the ruling party chairman for “shameless lies”, especially as Ukraine and Moldova stood behind Georgia in terms of candidacy criteria.
“Because [the GD leadership] does not want to straight-up say that they root for [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and regard the West as an enemy, to remain in power, they now want to blame their failure in Europe, the West on the opposition and its criticisms,” European Georgia Chair Giga Bokeria said.
Regarding these accusations, Member of European Parliament – Viola von Cramon twitted: “For the record, in the last weeks, in Brussels, I meet two opposition parties from #Georgia – #Lelo & Gakharia’s #forGeo. Both strongly demanded the EU #candidacy for despite the democratic backsliding as “it’s a historic chance for the country & is above all party lines”.”