The debate between Georgian Dream and the European People's Party
By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 22The current Georgian government finds itself in an unusual predicament: publicly debating its policies with a foreign political body- the European People’s Party (EPP). The former United National Movement (UNM) government either thanked European governmental bodies for their criticism and acted on their recommendations or completely ignored them without comment. This is a new experience for Georgia.
Although Georgian Dream has many times declared its Western orientation, it should be acknowledged that it does not have the same level of support from Europe that the UNM had and still has.
There are several explanations for this: the first is that the UNM has powerful lobbyists in the West who do their best to discredit Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and his party by using selective and at times outright false information. The second explanation is the hypocritical stance of the West which on one hand tells Georgia to normalize relations with Russia but criticizes the current Georgian government when it actually does put out tentative feelers towards Moscow.
European supporters of Saakashvili have not deeply explored the political and social situation in Georgia. Moreover they do not want to admit that in many cases Saakashvili and the UNM misled their European partners- giving them democratic rhetoric while in reality creating an autocratic regime.
The West does not want to acknowledge that it made a mistake blindly supporting Saakashvili. These same people do not accept Ivanishvili’s steps at establishing the rule of law, restoring justice, protecting human rights and private property, as well as promoting media freedom and an impartial judicial system.
So the situation is quite complicated. There are still a considerable number of people working in European structures who trust the UNM over Georgian Dream. However, slowly and steadily the Georgian Dream administration is proving to the rest of the world that Georgia's new government is fair, transparent and democratic.
Ivanishvili should use all opportunities to promote his program to Georgia's Western allies and friends. The strength of the current government is in giving true information. Observers say these attempts are already producing positive results.