A group of leading members of the European Parliament have threatened to cut EU financial aid to Georgia following the breakdown of negotiations between the Government and opposition.
‘Following the refusal from the political parties to compromise, Georgia’s leaders should not expect a return to business as usual from the European Union’, the MEPs said in a joint statement on Thursday evening.
‘The European Parliament, in particular, will call for consequences in terms of EU financial assistance, including both a suspension of further disbursements of and an increase in conditionality linked to EU Macro Financial Assistance and budget support programmes.’
The EU’s Macro Financial Assistance programmes must be approved by the European Parliament.
It follows over five months of political deadlock in Georgia, with almost all opposition MPs boycotting parliament following disputed parliamentary elections in October.
The statement came after efforts to mediate the dispute by Christian Danielsson, the personal envoy of European Council President Charles Michel, ended in failure.
[Read on OC Media: EU-mediated talks fail for second time in Georgia]
‘Fulfilling European aspiration requires compromise, especially by the party in power to lead the country out of the crisis’, Danielsson added before departing Georgia to report back to Brussels.
Earlier on Thursday before a cabinet meeting, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said the government would not ‘waste more time’ on ‘meaningless’ negotiations with the opposition.
Thursday’s statement was signed by seven prominent MEPs from four of the five largest groupings in parliament, including the chairs of the committees on foreign affairs and EU relations with the South Caucasus as well as the parliament’s rapporteur on Georgia.
‘We are deeply disappointed with the political leaders in Georgia for their inability to reach an agreement last Tuesday despite the best efforts deployed by the European Union to help put an end to the current political crisis’, it said.
‘Both the ruling and the main opposition parties taking part in the discussions are to be blamed for this outcome and a special responsibility lies with the party in government.’
According to the EU, the bloc provides around €120 million to Georgia annually in grant assistance.
[Read more on OC Media: EU parliamentarians warn of 'crisis in democracy' in Georgia]