Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili on Wednesday welcomed Brussels’ recommendation to grant her country candidate status to join the European Union.
“I rejoice with the people of Georgia and welcome the positive recommendation of the EU Commission to grant the candidate status,” Zurabishvili said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Zurabishvili has called on Georgians to gather for a pro-EU rally outside the presidential palace in Tbilisi on Wednesday evening “to say once more that our future is not with Russia”.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said: “I congratulate every Georgian citizen on today’s historic victory and recognition.”
“We’ve got a status that the Georgian people deserved,” he said in a televised address.
Georgia applied for EU membership together with Ukraine and Moldova after Russia invaded its pro-Western neighbour in February 2022.
EU leaders granted candidate status to Kyiv and Chisinau but urged Tbilisi to first implement judicial and electoral reforms, improve press freedom and curtail the power of oligarchs.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Brussels’ recommendation on Wednesday came with a caveat that the Georgian government takes reform steps “that mirror the genuine aspirations of the overwhelming majority of its citizens to join the European Union”.
Membership in the European Union and NATO is enshrined in Georgia’s constitution and supported — according to opinion polls — by more than 80 percent of the country’s population.
EU leaders are to take a final decision on putting Georgia on a formal membership path in mid-December.
Source : Zawya