22 Jun 2022 19:24

Georgian PM sure his country deserves EU candidate status as much as Ukraine, Moldova

TBILISI. June 22 (Interfax) - Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili regrets the European Commission's decision not to recommend that Georgia be granted EU candidate country status for now, noting that Tbilisi is expecting the EU's final decision later this week.

"We are ahead of Ukraine and Moldova, which are likely to get EU candidate status, in all respects. We have heard that Ukraine is to be granted this status because it is at war, and we have heard that Moldova is also getting this status for various reasons. In our case, a 'European perspective' has been offered, which is certainly sad, as we also expected to receive candidate status, but we'll continue to move toward European integration," Garibashvili said at the Georgian parliament on Wednesday.

"I'd like to say also that our opposition members, including those present in this hall, have regularly visited Brussels to persuade European parliamentarians that Georgia does not deserve to receive EU candidate status," he said.

Moreover, Garibashvili accused not only radical Georgian opposition members but also certain Ukrainian officials of attempts to disrupt Georgia's integration with the EU while visiting European capitals and Washington.

"Not only our radical opposition members, but also certain Ukrainian officials worked to make sure that Georgia does not receive European Union candidate status. We've earlier heard a call from Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksiy Danilov that Georgia should open a second front against Russia. And just recently, another member of the Ukrainian leadership, who has a Georgian family name, Arakhamia [David Arakhamia, leader of the ruling Servant of the People parliamentary faction], insisted during a visit to the U.S. that Georgia should not be granted European Union candidate status," he said.

All of the accusations being leveled at Georgia, including those voiced by Arakhamia in Washington, that Georgian authorities are facilitating Russian companies' bypassing of sanctions are absolutely unwarranted, Garibashvili said.

Georgia did not declare unilateral sanctions on Russia based on its national interests, Garibashvili said.

Garibashvili's speech was interrupted twice by members of the opposition United National Movement faction shouting to protest the Prime Minister's words that the European Commission made a "historic" decision on June 17 by recommending that the European Union give Georgia the perspective of becoming a member.