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EU Ambassador: bloc “needs good news” from Georgia to create “positive atmosphere” for ties

Pawel Herczynski

Pawel Herczynski, the European Union Ambassador to Georgia, on Saturday said the bloc needed to receive “good news” from Georgia regarding its progress on the conditions outlined by the EU last year for granting Tbilisi its membership candidate status, in order to create a “positive atmosphere” for future relations between the sides, Azernews reports, citing Agenda.ge.

In his comments to the local media, Herczynski highlighted the “great progress on some priorities” while noting the bloc was “waiting for results on others”.

The Ambassador also made comments on the domestic deoligarchisation bill, which was adopted in its second reading earlier this week, a day after the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe recommended the Georgian authorities to drop the legislative piece.

The Commission said the bill was using a “personalised”, instead of “systemic”, approach to curbing oligarchic influence on the domestic politics, and called on the country’s authorities to instead implement a wide range of systemic reforms to prevent concentration of power in the hands of wealthy individuals.

Herczynski said the European Commission agreed with the Venice Commission in recommending a “transparent, responsible approach” and a “systematic” approach on oligarchs, adding he “sincerely hoped” the Georgian political elite would also choose this approach to fulfil the EU priorities.

His comments followed claims by Irakli Kobakhidze, the ruling Georgian Dream party head, who on Wednesday said the opinions of the Venice Commission and the European Commission on the Georgian bill “contradict each other”.

Kobakhidze said the European Commission’s condition on the matter had urged the Georgian authorities to “implement the commitment to deoligarchisation by eliminating the excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political, and public life”, which he said implied a “personalised and not systemic approach” to the problem, in an alleged contradiction to the Venice Commission’s opinion.

The Georgian Dream party pledged it would drop the bill after its final approval if the European Commission removed the requirement on deoligarchisation from its conditions for granting the country its membership candidate status by December.

In its remarks on Wednesday, the EU representation in Georgia urged the country’s authorities to follow the Venice Commission’s recommendations against adopting the bill, and expressed the bloc’s readiness to support the country’s Government to find a “better way forward with a systemic approach”.

About Fidan Abdullayeva