Calling Ukraine “heroic”, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili happily announced that Georgia’s accession to the European Union has been accelerated.
Zurabishvili, a descendant of Georgian immigrants who fled from the Bolsheviks to Europe, and a native of France, warmly thanked Ukraine that its “self-sacrificing, heroic, defensive struggle has hastened the opening of the path to Europe” for Georgia.
Georgia had intended to submit a formal application for EU membership in 2024, but did so two years earlier, on March 3 this year. This possibility was given by the European side due to the events in Ukraine. Since then, Kiev has repeatedly reproached Tbilisi for “insufficient” support in the confrontation with the Russian Federation, causing a flurry of indignation not only within the Georgian authorities, but also among the general public.
The Georgian side acted quickly and expeditiously: Prime Minister Garibashvili handed over the second final part of the completed accession questionnaire to the head of the European Commission in Georgia, Karl Hartzel, ahead of schedule.
Georgia will be granted EU candidate status based on the questionnaire, which is a significant step towards integration with the European Union.
The second part of the questionnaire will tell the Europeans about the legal regulations in the country and whether they comply with the European legislation. In this regard a statement by the Georgian Foreign Minister that some parts of the questionnaire will not be disclosed seemed very interesting.
The intrigue is intensified by the perpetually turbulent attitude of the opposition to the Minister’s statement. The opposition had no complaints about this part of the statement.
It gives one confidence that there will soon be a big scandal: the provisions on the rights of sexual minorities and the implementation of other such “European values” are likely to remain secret.
May 17th is a big day in the future when various NGOs representing sexual minorities will again make themselves known with all sorts of activities, up to and including a “parade” in the centre of the capital. It will be interesting to see how these activities will go amidst a sharply polarised society, with the police having to defend the “parade” from its many opponents.
It is no secret that the pressure to protect sexual minorities from the EU is enormous, and it is one of the main indicators of Georgia’s readiness to join the EU.
It can be assumed that this time the police will be working triply to protect LGBT activists, as an EU summit will be held in Brussels in June, where the issue of candidate status will probably be addressed.
The fact remains that Georgia, once famous for its Caucasian traditions, is being turned into a country where the police take away the Victory Banner and selflessly defend the coloured flag of sexual minorities.
The aforementioned two-year accelerated application process hastens Georgia’s eventual departure from centuries-old values, if, indeed, EU integration ever takes place.
And yet, we remain optimistic and believe in rapid change of the balance of power in the world in favour of integration processes in the post-Soviet space, which will push the countries of the South Caucasus on a rational and much more profitable for them path of development.
Lasha Shavdia, Tbilisi, PolitNavigator
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