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EU Puts Georgia's Accession on Hold Amid Concerns Over Political Intentions

By Liza Mchedlidze
Wednesday, July 10, 2024
The European Union has decided to suspend Georgia's accession process, citing concerns about the country's political direction. This decision was confirmed by EU Ambassador to Georgia Pawel Herczynski, who expressed his disappointment and outlined the reasons behind this move during a conference in Tbilisi.

"Unfortunately, for the moment, Georgia's EU accession has been put on hold. I sincerely hope that after the elections in Georgia in October, the newly-formed government, whoever forms the government, will restart serious work towards EU integration," said Herczynski.

On June 27, EU leaders, including presidents and prime ministers, met in Brussels and made several key decisions, including setting the next strategic agenda for the European Union and reaffirming their commitment to defending Ukraine. However, a crucial decision was also made to halt Georgia's accession process. This was clearly stated in the European Council's conclusions, which the Ambassador urged to be read carefully.

According to Herczynski, EU leaders are uncertain about the intentions of the current Georgian authorities, particularly concerning the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence. "This is a clear backsliding in the 9 steps, and also anti-western, anti-European rhetoric is incompatible with the stated aim of joining the European Union," he stated.

The EU Ambassador emphasized that recent actions by the Georgian parliament have raised doubts among EU leaders about the country's commitment to European integration. The halt in Georgia's accession process is particularly disheartening, considering the progress being made by other candidate countries. "We are moving fast forward with other candidate countries. As you know, the day after that decision, the EU opened negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova," Herczynski noted.

Despite the setback, Herczynski remains hopeful for Georgia's future within the EU. He stressed that the ultimate decision lies with Georgia and its people. "Georgia has been granted the status of a candidate country for EU membership. This decision was taken by unanimity by all EU member states in December of last year. However, how quickly Georgia will become a member of the European Union only depends on Georgians themselves," he said.

The EU has also decided to freeze its support for Georgia from the European Peace Facility, amounting to EUR 30 million for 2024. This decision was made at the last European Council meeting, reflecting the EU's concerns over the recent political developments in Georgia.

The two-day conference in Tbilisi, titled "EU Enlargement: A Geopolitical Necessity and the Next Steps for the EU Candidate States," has brought these issues to the forefront, highlighting the critical juncture at which Georgia finds itself. The upcoming elections in October will be pivotal in determining the country's path towards EU integration and addressing the concerns raised by the EU leaders.