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Georgia claims to meet EU's 12 criteria, hopes to gain candidate status by end of this year

Tbilisi demands fair approach, Premier Garibashvili tells EU foreign policy chief Borrell, recalling that Moldova, Ukraine were granted same status last year, but Georgia was not

Alperen Aktaş  | 08.09.2023 - Update : 08.09.2023
Georgia claims to meet EU's 12 criteria, hopes to gain candidate status by end of this year

ISTANBUL

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibachvili discussed the country's bid to gain EU candidate status with the bloc's foreign policy chief during a meeting on Friday, stressing that most of the 12 criteria have been met and implemented. 

Georgia's EU integration process is ongoing, but reminded that the EU did not grant Georgia candidate country status last year, Garibashvili said at a joint press conference in Tbilisi with Josep Borrell, the high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The premier mentioned that his government was given 12 criteria by the EU to fulfill and that the government has implemented most of them, Tbilisi-based Civil Georgia News reported.

He pointed out that while Moldova and Ukraine were granted candidate country status by the EU last year, Georgia was not, emphasizing that Tbilisi demands a fair approach.

“Last year, Ukraine and Moldova received the status as a bonus, and I call it a bonus because I know the situation there very well. We have always been, and still are, an advanced country among the countries of the associated trio,” he said.

He highlighted that Russia occupies 20% of Georgia's territory and argued that the first war took place in 2008, at a heavy cost.

The country expects the EU to grant it "candidate country" status by the end of the year, he said, stressing that a negative response would send a positive message to Russia.

“No doubt Georgia belongs to the European family," Borrell said, for his part, expressing his pleasure at being in Tbilisi.

However, Borrell stressed that the Georgian government must meet the 12 criteria conveyed by the EU in order to receive candidate country status, and he invited the opposition to collaborate with the Garibashvili administration on this.

Regarding the EU sanctions imposed on Russia in support of Ukraine, Borrell emphasized the need for coordinated efforts among partners, saying, "It’s crucial that our closest partners coordinate efforts to internationally isolate Russia.”

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