EU Membership “Merit-Based Process” –

During a joint press conference following the EU-Georgia Association Council on 6 September, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell underlined that joining the he European Union is a “merit-based process. There are no shortcuts and no magic involved. These are not political statements, but [of] political will that converts wills into results.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who led the Georgian delegation, and Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi also spoke at the press conference.

The EU-Georgia Association Council is a joint body created to oversee the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. The meeting was the first since European states recognized Georgia European perspective on June 23 and outlined the reforms it needs to undertake in order to receive EU candidate status. It was chaired by the High Representative, while the Prime Minister represented Georgia and Commissioner Várhelyi attended.

High Representative Borrell underlined that the granting of the European perspective is “a clear proof of the European Union’s commitment to further strengthen our relations, responding to Georgia’s European ambitions”.

The High Representative stressed, however, that these ambitions “come with responsibilities”, including “the responsibility to pursue important reforms, in particular on the priorities – the 12 priorities – identified by the European Commission”.

He indicated that overcoming polarization, building “bridges across the political spectrum” and focusing on the Georgian nation’s collective efforts to achieve its goal of European Union membership is another key responsibility “that does not is not just something the government needs to do but the entire political spectrum and all of society.

“Only visible and tangible progress in reforms can move this process forward,” he said, adding that “the criteria and expectations are very clear” when it comes to issues such as having a culture policy based on inclusion, respect for democracy, rule of law, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press or alignment with EU standards and policies.

“Georgia has decided to embark on the path of the European Union and to assume these responsibilities as well”, underlined High Representative Borrell. “And now, [what] is relevant is to deliver.

The High Representative also underlined that the accession process requires “a national consensus and that the political forces must find a way to work together”. “And, again, this is not just the business of the government but of all political parties,” he said.

“That is why we call this process an ‘inclusive process’, because it must reflect the wish of the overwhelming majority of the population to link their future to the European Union”, remarked High Representative Borrell while emphasizing the importance of civil society.

While noting that the process is “not easy”, he underlined that Georgia enjoys the support of the EU and all its institutions.

In this context, the High Representative underlined the importance of the political dialogue that the trio held within the framework of the Council and underlined the need to continue to speak openly about the work that has been successfully accomplished and the areas in which efforts additional are required.

In this sense, he explained that during the meeting they shared their concerned assessment of Georgia’s performance in the judiciary, rule of law, freedom of the media and “the growing political pressure on the independent oversight institutions and opposition media”.

High Representative Borrell stressed that these areas are “crucial” when it comes to European values ​​and principles. “We count on Georgia’s efforts to fill the existing gaps,” he said.

occupied regions

The High Representative also drew attention to the occupied regions of Georgia, Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia, and underlined that the EU stands “firmly” with Georgia and supports its territorial integrity.

In this context, he said that the EU will continue its efforts through Toivo Klaar, the EU Special Representative for the region, and the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM).

High Representative Borrell noted the “government’s efforts to contribute to peace in the region” and reiterated his condemnation in “the strongest possible terms” of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He stressed that the EU is committed to supporting the resilience of Eastern Neighborhood partners as they work to strengthen Georgia’s defences, including in cybersecurity and countering disinformation.

He acknowledged that Georgia had been “seriously affected” by the new geopolitical situation and that during the meeting they had discussed ways to help Georgia overcome the challenges and continue the process of reforms despite the difficulties. existing.

The High Representative concluded by expressing the hope that “Georgian political forces will seize this historic opportunity and redouble their efforts to obtain the [EU] candidate status and getting closer to the European Union.

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