Joint Statement of Civil Society Organizations

29 May, 2023

On May 22-25, we, representatives of civil society organizations carrying out the monitoring of the process of fulfillment, by Georgia, of the prerequisites for obtaining EU membership candidate status, held meetings with representatives of the institutions of the European Union and member states in Brussels. The purpose of the meetings was to advocate for granting Georgia the status of a candidate for membership in the European Union.

At the meetings, the efforts and steps taken in implementing various priorities were evaluated, to a greater or lesser extent, positively. Regrettably, concerns were expressed with respect to the improper fulfillment, by Georgian authorities, of such important priorities in the framework of reforms as depolarization, an independent judiciary, de-oligarchization, free media, and the involvement of civil society in the decision-making process, which have been laid as prerequisites for obtaining candidate status. The lack of political will required to carry out these reforms on the part of Georgian authorities was underlined.

The representatives of the EU institutions again expressed their disappointment with the decision taken on direct flights to Russia, as it does not comply with the spirit of EU membership and contradicts the overall foreign and security policy of the European Union. Concerns were expressed with regard to the visit of the family members of the Russian Foreign Minister sanctioned by the European Union to Georgia.

At the meetings, the inadmissibility of aggressive rhetoric by representatives of the Georgian Dream Party against EU institutions and representatives of civil society organizations in our country, which has become even stronger after the recall of the “Russian Law”, was also stressed.

The European Union clearly sees and appreciates the efforts of the Georgian people to adhere to the European course of the country, although this may not be sufficient to obtain candidate status, as, to this end, it is required that Georgia fulfill 12 priorities. This is primarily the responsibility of the country`s authorities.

Approximately 5 months are left before the European Commission presents its assessment report for Georgia. Unlike the ruling party, the officials in Brussels believe that important steps still need to be taken in order to implement the 12 priorities. We believe that the country`s authorities should take into consideration the European aspiration of the Georgian people, demonstrate their political will and commitment to European values, and make appropriate decisions.

We, the representatives of civil society organizations, continue working to help Georgia obtain the status of a candidate for EU membership.