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PM Signs Application for EU Membership on Behalf of Georgia

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, March 4, 2022
The Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili has signed the application for EU membership and addressed the public. He praised a “historic day” for Georgia with his signing of the country’s bid for European Union membership on 3rd of March, emphasizing that the move “continues the efforts of our ancestors, which was aimed at unification in a common European family.” According to him this move marks the next important stage on Georgia's European integration path.

“Georgia is a European state; Our country, throughout its long history, has always belonged to the area of European culture and civilization, and even today it makes a valuable contribution to its protection and development,” Garibashvili said in his address, highlighting our “history of the struggle for freedom and the proof that European values are in Georgian people’s character, thus are inseparable.”

During the speech, the PM spoke about the Association Agreement signed in 2014, when ‘we assumed a tremendous responsibility towards our country and people to successfully start our journey of European integration and to make a strong and solid foundation to the eventual Europeanisation of our country.’

It was emphasized that we have a consistent performance of our authorities and public support since 2014, Georgia is successfully delivering its commitments in the capacity of an Associated Partner and has made significant progress towards legislative, economic and political proximity with the EU.

“I believe that we will be taking the journey of EU integration together with our Abkhazian and Ossetian compatriots and will build a united, strong European state together with them,” said PM.

The signing of the EU membership bid follows Wednesday’s reveal by Irakli Kobakhidze, the ruling Georgian Dream party Chairman, of the government’s work on preparing the application in an expedited manner. On Tuesday, a draft resolution on the country’s EU membership was prepared by the Committee on European Integration of the Georgian Parliament. The resolution called on EU member states and institutions to take all necessary steps to accelerate Georgia's accession to the Union.

Recall that obtaining candidate status is, by default, a lengthy process involving two major EU bodies: the European Commission, which consists of 27 Commissioners with different portfolios, and the European Council, which includes the Heads of Government of the EU Member States. The European Commission is examining applications for EU membership within the framework of the (Copenhagen) accession criteria to assess whether the country should be awarded the title of candidate. Based on the opinion of the European Commission, the European Council decides on the issue of granting candidate status and begins negotiations with the state for full membership.

Although an expedited rule other than this procedure is not provided for in EU law, such a decision depends on the unanimous political will of the member states. In this case, too, the European Commission, the European Council and the Parliament must assess in a short period of time how ready the applicant country is for EU membership. The decision is based on consensus and all members of the Council of Europe, i.e. representatives of all countries, must agree to grant membership status.

Georgia's application for EU membership status will be considered by the EU through the same procedure, but is likely to be considered in a shorter time frame. The window of opportunity was created by Ukraine, which made a similar statement to the European Union on 28 February 2022. The expedited procedure for Ukraine's candidate status was initiated by the European Parliament, which adopted a recommendatory resolution calling on EU institutions to work on granting Ukraine's candidate status.