The Georgian president said she was “confident” about granting this status as a candidate for the European Union by the end of the year. Salome Zurabishvili also said that Russia was waging “a hybrid war” on her country.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili pleaded before MEPs on Wednesday for granting her country EU candidate status, which would allow “protection” against Russia, saying she was “confident” in the prospect that this would happen. before the end of the year.
Status granted to Ukraine and Moldova
In June 2022, the European Union refused Georgia the status of candidate for integration, which it instead granted to Ukraine and Moldova. Brussels is asking Tbilisi to make progress in terms of the independence of justice, the fight against corruption and organized crime in particular.
“I want to see Georgia overcome national and international challenges and firmly embark on the path of full European integration. And for that there is only one way: for Georgia to get the end of the year the status of candidate for the European Union. And I am confident”, declared Salome Zurabishvili in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.
The European Commission is to present a report to the Member States in the autumn on the progress made by Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, in order to decide on the respective next steps for these three former Soviet republics in the long process of accession to the EU.
“Protection from Russia”
“We are not perfect, far from it (…) Some recommendations” made by the EU for granting candidate status “have been implemented but more needs to be done”, acknowledged the Georgian President, a pro-Western leader with limited powers.
“It will be our common task in the coming months, to ensure that we do not miss a second chance, which the Georgian people would not forgive,” she added.
Salome Zurabishvili stressed that this candidate status would provide Georgia with “protection against Russia”, which “continues to occupy” part of its territory and to wage “a hybrid war” on it.
Risk of a “grey area”
She warned of the risk of leaving her country in “a gray area”. “As Russia goes to defeat in Ukraine, we cannot afford to provide Russia with the temptation to look for weak spots elsewhere,” she said.
“Russia must understand that Georgia is Europe and that Europe is determined that Georgia is Europe,” she continued, highlighting Moscow’s attempts in recent months to “restore its influence” in this country, citing in particular the resumption of Russia-Georgia flights.
The official further stressed that EU candidate status would “cement Georgia’s role as a pro-European force in the region” of the Caucasus.
Source: BFM TV