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Hartzell on the EU Membership: Georgia Could Have Been Better Prepared for this Historic Moment

By The Messenger Staff
Tuesday, May 31, 2022
EU Ambassador H.E. Carl Hartzell says Georgia could have been better prepared to receive EU membership because, he said, “the EU is concerned about the country's current trajectory.”

As he points out, the built pace of reforms in the country is linked to the ongoing political crises.

"I can not be naive about the challenges that come with building political culture, it is listening to each other and not referring to each other as slaves, warlords, Putinists, and traitors. This challenge must be overcome somehow.

Now is not the time to prepare for blaming each other for the game. Now is the time to get ready for a long game. Based on the values that unite us - respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and human rights - this is the investment that stands at stake here.

That is why any new member is not only expected to have full respect for values and standards, but also to contribute to further strengthening the EU. Georgia could have been better prepared for this historic moment.

This coincides with a time when the EU is increasingly concerned about the country's current trajectory. The pace of reforms has slowed in recent years, in part due to ongoing political crises, and the responsibility lies on both sides. "It also has to do with the pandemic,” he said.

According to Hartzell, the recent events raise questions about where Georgia is heading.

He spoke about the democratic nature of the elections, the violence of July 5, the rights of minorities, and noted that some actions and the dismantling of the State Inspector's Office had called into question the democratic institutions in Georgia.

“In recent months, the question has arisen, 'Where is Georgia heading?' I will not reveal any secrets here, because everyone has seen the public reaction to the events that have taken place in the last year - question marks on the trend when it comes to democratic elections, July 5 violence, protection of minority rights, and journalists. There were actions that went against the rule of law.

These actions and the dissolution of the State Inspector's Office have called into question respect for democratic institutions and the overall democratic mechanism. These are not events of marginal significance, but they are all directly related to EU values.

“Perception is important, trends are important and Georgia must regain the name of the best actor and the best reformer in the region, for which it has all the opportunities and even experience“. Diplomat said that EU is a close friend and partner of Georgia, in fact it is one of the countries in the world that received the largest assistance per capita.

“We help you modernize your economy, create new jobs, strengthen trade and connections, raise educational standards, increase energy efficiency, address environmental and health challenges, and harmonize your legislation with that of the EU,” He said, explaining that EU is ready to help you fulfill European agenda, regardless of what decisions will be made in the coming weeks.

“We believe in our friendship and partnership and are ready to do more in this regard. We want Georgia to find its worthy place in Europe and the world”, said EU Ambassador adding “so just help us to help you!”

The diplomat also said that decisions taken by the EU member states, consequences of Russia’s war against Ukraine and other future developments in Europe and in the world will also have an impact on Georgia’s membership bid. “But as history has shown, this process begins and ends with your determination and your actions,” he added.

The summit, which will decide on granting EU candidate status to Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova, will be held in Brussels on June 23-24.