Georgia officially presented its candidacy for membership of the European Union (EU) today, announced the prime minister of this former Soviet republic of the Caucasus, after Ukraine requested integration into the EU bloc in the face of the Russian invasion.
“We are applying for EU membership”, said Irakli Garibachvili in a statement after signing the letter formalizing the request, classifying this as a “strategic objective” for Tbilisi and underlining that “Georgia is a European state and continues to make a valuable contribution to its protection and development”.
The ruling Georgian Dream party had announced on Wednesday its intention to apply for membership “immediately”, following an express request from Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, whose country is being attacked by Russia.
Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine last week caused great concern in Georgia, which was also part of the former Soviet Union and is considered by Russia to be part of its zone of influence.
In 2008, a Russian armed intervention in Georgia resulted in the loss of two pro-Russian breakaway territories.
The Russian offensive and Ukraine’s accelerated bid to join the EU also appear to have created a window of opportunity for Georgia’s aspiration, after the government announced last year its intention to present its candidacy only in 2024.
Georgia, like Ukraine, has signed an association agreement with the European Union, which, however, offers no guarantee of faster integration.
The country of the Caucasus is facing a political crisis and its government has been accused of attacks on freedoms.
Former President Mikheil Saakashvili (2004-2013), who became opposition leader, is currently in prison, accused of abuse of power, and has gone on a hunger strike over his arrest.
Source: with agencies