Two winners, one loser. By issuing a positive opinion on Friday 17 June on the granting of candidate status to the European Union (EU) to Ukraine and Moldova, the European Commission has paved the way for their accession.
But Georgia, which also aspires to join the EU, will still have to wait. This small Caucasian country must first carry out reforms – reducing political polarization, strengthening the independence of the judiciary and fighting corruption – before it can claim this status, the Commission has ruled.
Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova all applied for membership shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24. It is now up to the Twenty-Seven, meeting on Thursday June 23 and Friday June 24 at a summit in Brussels, to study the opinion of the European body and decide whether or not to grant EU candidate status. for these three former Soviet republics.
The European Commission, however, did not close the door on Georgia, which faced Russia in a five-day war in August 2008. It recommended that the country be offered a “European perspective”i.e. the potential right to membership, even if it has no legal value. ” The door is wide open. It is now up to Georgia to take the necessary steps to move forward.”commented Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Regarding the fight against corruption, a crucial point in Moldova as in Ukraine, Tbilisi is nevertheless a good student. In its 2021 report on corruption, the NGO Transparency International ranks Georgia 45e rank out of 180, against 105e rank for Moldova and the 122e rank for Ukraine.
More than 80% of the population for membership
The ruling party in Tbilisi, Georgian Dream, said to itself ” happy “ to have a “concrete roadmap”but judged “regrettable” that the Commission does not support candidate status at this time. On June 17, Prime Minister Irakli Garibachvili also welcomed “the historic decision to give Georgia a European perspective”adding: “We will work with Brussels to implement all the requirements and we will obtain candidate status. »
The European Commission’s opinion is a setback for Georgia, where more than 80% of the population supports EU membership. About 120,000 people, European and Georgian flags in hand, marched in Tbilisi on Monday to demand EU membership. Several pro-European organizations and all the opposition formations had called for a “March for Europe” in order to “to prove the commitment of the Georgian people in their European choice and in Western values”.
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