Georgia will on Thursday officially apply for EU membership, the chair of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, Irakli Kobakhidze, has announced.
‘The Georgian Government, led by Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, is already preparing an application for EU candidate status, which will be officially submitted to EU structures on behalf of the Georgian government tomorrow,’ Kobakhidze said at a briefing at the Georgian Dream HQ on Wednesday evening.
The move follows Ukraine’s decision to apply for EU membership on Monday, amidst the Russian invasion of the country.
It represents a U-turn for Kobakhidze, and the Government, who up until yesterday had insisted they would not move up their previous plan to apply for membership in 2024.
The government has come under increasing pressure from the opposition and thousands of protesters who have been gathering outside parliament to do more to help Ukraine. Submitting an immediate application to the EU has also been among protesters’ demands.
During the briefing on Wednesday, Kobakhidze also slammed the Ukrainian government for recalling their Ambassador to Georgia on Tuesday. President Zelensky cited the Georgian Government’s ‘immoral stance’ on sanctions as well as for blocking a flight scheduled to bring Georgian volunteers to fight in Ukraine.
‘This decision is not just unjustified, it is completely illogical for many reasons’, Kobakhidze said.
‘If the reason for recalling the ambassador was the non-imposition of sanctions, we would like to remind you that a number of countries have refused to impose sanctions, including Moldova, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel and others. However, the Ukrainian authorities have not recalled their an ambassador from any of these countries.’
Kobakhidze also took the opportunity to attack the opposition, who he once again accused of trying to foment a war with Russia.
‘By secretly trying to drag the country into war and sanctions, these people are once again asserting that both in 2008 and now they are hostile and betraying the country, and that is the only motivation for their actions.’
‘This effort is being coordinated from Georgia by the United National Movement, which, as everyone knows, has many representatives in the Ukrainian government, including in the president’s immediate entourage.’