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12 Demands of European Union to Georgian Political Spectrum

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Monday, July 11, 2022
Today, the main topic of Georgian politics is discussing the fulfillment of the 12 demands presented by the European Union. Georgian Dream claims that these requirements will be fulfilled by the end of the year, while the opposition suspects that the government will not actually do anything and will leave the country without the status of an EU membership candidate. How to prevent such a development of events has not yet been established.

The main events of the last couple of months are the mass rallies of June 20 and 24 and July 3 with the protest rally of June 20 being particularly crowded. The opposition parties took distance from these rallies, neither participated in their organization nor spoke out. The actions were led by civil activists.

The rallies showed that there is a lot of potential ready among civil society and integrating with the European Union is desired by the vast majority of the country's population. These people may be temporarily misled, but in the end, they will not forgive anyone for hindering Georgia's western integration.

The three protest participants also showed that its organizers did not have a real action plan. GD took the ultimatum for Gharibashvili's resignation and the demand for the formation of a technical government as a joke. To them, the appearance of tens of thousands of people at protest rallies does not mean much.

Georgian Dream isn’t saying they won’t meet the 12 EU requirements. On the contrary, they assure that it will create working groups for this purpose and receive thanks from the West for such statements. Some caution of the Georgian Dream is understandable, firstly, the leaders of the party are well aware that integration with the West is the desire of the vast majority of people and they do not want to be blamed for not accepting the status of a candidate for EU membership. Moreover, the fate of the Russia-Ukraine war is unclear. GD is also afraid of possible sanctions from the West against Bidzina Ivanishvili and his closest entourage.

But in reality, the Georgian Dream does not want to fulfill the requirements of the European Union, because their realization means the dismantling of the current system. It is also clear that distance from the West and a critical tone toward the West is becoming Russia's hope.

Today, in the Russia-Ukraine war, Russian troops continue to attack and achieve certain successes. Western sanctions or military aid have not yet brought a change in favor of Ukraine. Putin's military defeat would probably make the Georgian Dream much more attentive to the West.

The Georgian Dream is engaged in intense and open anti-Western propaganda when its leaders say one after the other that the West is trying to drag Georgia into the war and that Georgia would have already received the status of a member of the European Union if it were involved in the war against Russia. The 12 points are just fiction, the main thing is to open a second front against Russia - this is the essence of this propaganda. It is clear that this is an excuse for the time when 6 months will pass and Georgia will not become a candidate for EU membership. In addition, it aims to discredit the West and the opposition. “We don't need such a Europe,” some people have already voiced this phrase.

The government is offering the opposition to start a dialogue in order to fulfill the 12 points of the European Union, although it is clear from their own comments that they’re not planning much. That is why the opposition claims that the Georgian Dream only wants to waste time and will not do anything.

Deoligarchization? But it is already known that the bill prepared by them will not affect Bidzina Ivanishvili and Mikheil Saakashvili, her mother, leaders of ‘Lelo’ will fall under it. These people have already been nominated, additional candidates will be sought from the opposition circles. Depolarization? This means the recognition of the election results by the opposition, the cessation of criticism of the government, etc. Parliamentary opposition parties are trying to get an extraordinary parliamentary session called to begin discussions on meeting the EU's demands. For example, the constitutional amendments, which have already been adopted in the first reading and provide for the reduction of the electoral threshold, could be adopted soon if there is political will, and this would be an important step to reduce depolarization.

The opposition is going to ask the president to convene an extraordinary session, although it is difficult to say how effective this request will be. This is probably the only thing that the government is afraid of year ‘Revolution’, although at the same time it is an accusation against the opposition that they are “preparing for a revolution.” The opposition denies such accusations and focuses on peaceful methods of fighting.

The opposition believes that it will be necessary to put pressure on the Georgian Dream inside the country through peaceful protests. However, it is also clear that it will be difficult to organize such actions in the summer. Outside the country, they consider imposing sanctions on Bidzina Ivanishvili and her entourage as effective support. The reason is known to everyone, they have been repeatedly accused of secret cooperation with Russia and facilitating the violation of Western sanctions. However, it is difficult to say whether it will lead to sanctions.