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Zourabichvili Calls on Public to Gather on June 16 to Stand up for European Future

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
The President of Georgia Salome Zourabichvili offered the public to hold a large-scale meeting before the decision on the status of an EU candidate country in Brussels. The meeting is scheduled for June 16, 19:00 at Europe Square.

“We have no solution other than unity. Therefore, I also offer to gather on June 16 in Tbilisi, from Europe Square to Rike. Let us see each other and show Europe ourselves - our unity, our will. It will be a societal gathering of our population, where everyone will be an ordinary citizen - me, you and any member of a political party, or government official, everyone will come as an ordinary citizen. There will be no words, no announcements, no posters. If anyone wants a song, they can sing it. The rest will be just to stand up for what we want for our children, for this next generation in Europe,” Zourabichvili said at a briefing held at the Orbeliani Palace.

At a special briefing, the President of Georgia criticized the Georgian Dream government for its policy of waiting for EU candidate status. She also added that the position and statements of the ruling party posed a threat to Georgia's isolation.

“We have quarreled with everyone and offended everyone with insulting statements. All three Baltic states have been our traditional ally on this path to Euro-Atlantic integration; Poland, which is so involved and helps Ukraine and Ukraine itself.”

She also spoke of MEPs and Charles Michel, President of the Council of Europe, who ‘used to be our institutional supporter, but we do not allow him to stand by us anymore’. Here President referred to the Georgian Dream annulling the April 19 agreement between the ruling and opposition parties, which was brokered by Michel in 2021 to overcome post-election political crisis in Georgia.

“What else could we have done”? President referred to this question stating the simple answer - ‘At least what Moldova has done’. Zourabichvili said that Moldova has not imposed more sanctions than Georgia and it hasn't been demanded from them or from us, none of us were asked to join the war. But, most importantly, Moldova has managed to remain silent and work in all European capitals - ‘something that we seem to be struggling with’.

The President also addressed the President of the European Commission to take into account the will of the people of Georgia, whose path deserves to be recognized.

Zourabichvili also announced that she will address the heads of all 27 EU member states with letters where she will present all the political, moral and strategic arguments as to why Georgia deserves this historic decision and why leaving it behind could be a fatal mistake.

On March 3, the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili signed Georgia's application for EU membership.

The country's government decided to apply for EU candidate status expeditiously on March 2, after Ukraine made a request on February 28, amid the ongoing war. Moldova also applied for accelerated EU membership on March 3.

On June 9, the European Parliament passed a resolution on violations of media freedom in Georgia and challenges to the safety of journalists.

The resolution was also amended by the European Parliament groups - the European People's Party (EPP), Renew Europe and the European Conservatives and Reformers (ECR) - to call for targeted sanctions against former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The amendment, submitted by the 3 groups, states that the European Parliament ‘expresses concern about the destructive role played by sole oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili in Georgian politics and economy, concerns about the level of influence over the government and its decisions, including politically motivated journalists and political opponents’.

“Such a text, with its factual inaccuracies and unsubstantiated allegations, is just one indication that sufficient work has not been done with the parties in the European Parliament that participated in the drafting of the resolution. For its part, the opposition worked to achieve its goals, and the government did not do the job it was supposed to do. Sometimes they chose silence, sometimes offensive answers to serious questions, and that's the result they got.”

According to the Georgian President, the European Parliament resolution, along with criticism, expresses the belief that Georgia deserves to meet the legitimate aspirations of its people and calls on EU institutions to grant candidate status. She reiterated her belief that despite the difficult picture, there is still a chance to get the EU candidate status.