The Messenger – 12 demands from the European Union to the Georgian political spectrum
By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Monday, July 11, 2022
Today, the main topic of Georgian politics is to discuss the fulfillment of the 12 demands presented by the European Union. Georgian Dream claims that these requirements will be met by the end of the year, while the opposition suspects the government of doing nothing and leaving the country without EU candidate status. How to prevent such a development of events has not yet been established.
The main events of the past two months are the mass rallies on June 20 and 24 and July 3, with the protest rally on June 20 being particularly crowded. Opposition parties distanced themselves from these gatherings, neither participated in their organization nor spoke out. The actions were carried out by civil activists.
The gatherings showed that there is great potential within civil society and that integration into 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 protesters also showed that its organizers had no real plan of action. GD took the ultimatum for Gharibashvili’s resignation and the demand for the formation of a technical government as a joke. For them, the appearance of tens of thousands of people at protest rallies means little.
Georgian Dream is not saying that they will not meet the 12 EU requirements. On the contrary, they assure that he will create working groups for this purpose and will receive thanks from the West for such declarations. Some caution of the Georgian dream is understandable, firstly the party leaders 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 candidate status to EU membership. Moreover, the fate of the Russian-Ukrainian war is unclear. GD also fears possible Western sanctions against Bidzina Ivanishvili and her closest entourage.
But in reality, the Georgian Dream does not want to meet the demands of the European Union, because their realization means the dismantling of the current system. It is also clear that distancing from the West and a critical tone towards the West is becoming Russia’s hope.
Today, in the Russian-Ukrainian war, Russian troops continue to attack and achieve some success. Western sanctions or military aid have yet to bring change in favor of Ukraine. Putin’s military defeat would likely make the Georgian Dream much more responsive to the West.
The Georgian Dream engages in intense and outspoken anti-Western propaganda when its leaders say one after another that the West is trying to drag Georgia into war and that Georgia has already been granted membership in the Georgian Dream. European Union if it participated 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 when 6 months will pass and Georgia will not become a candidate for EU membership. Moreover, it aims to discredit the West and the opposition. “We don’t need such a Europe”, some have already said this sentence.
The government offers the opposition to start a dialogue in order to fulfill the 12 points of the European Union, even if it is clear from their own comments that they do not foresee much. This is why the opposition claims that the Georgian Dream only wants to waste time and will do nothing.
Deoligarchization? But it is already known that the bill prepared by them will not affect Bidzina Ivanishvili and Mikheil Saakashvili, her mother, the leaders of ‘Lelo’ will fall from it. These people have already been appointed, additional candidates will be sought in opposition circles. Depolarization? This means recognition of the election results by the opposition, stopping criticism of the government, etc. Parliamentary opposition parties are trying to secure an extraordinary parliamentary session to start talks on meeting EU 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 will ask the president to call an extraordinary session, although it is difficult to say how effective this request will be. This is probably the only thing the government is afraid of in the “Revolution” year, even if at the same time it is an accusation against the opposition that they are “preparing a revolution”. The opposition denies these accusations and focuses on peaceful methods of combat.
The opposition believes that it will be necessary to put pressure on the Georgian Dream inside the country through peaceful demonstrations. However, it is also clear that it will be difficult to organize such actions in the summer. Outside the country, they consider the imposition of sanctions against Bidzina Ivanishvili and her entourage as effective support. The reason is known to all, they have been repeatedly accused of secret cooperation with Russia and facilitating the violation of Western sanctions. However, it is difficult to say whether this will lead to sanctions.