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Germany promises Georgia support for EU candidate status

March 24, 2023

Germany's foreign minister says the door to EU candidate status is "wide open" for Georgia. But she stressed the Caucasus country would first need to implement reforms to address concerns over democracy.

Germany's Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, left, and Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili shake hands during their joint news conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, Friday, March 24, 2023.
Germany has promised to help Georgia in its journey to join the EUImage: Shakh Aivazov/AP Photo/picture alliance

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Friday Germany was ready to help Georgia in its quest to join the European Union. 

Speaking at a press conference in the capital, Tbilisi, she told reporters that more needed to be done to uphold democratic standards and  ensure freedom of the press.

What did Germany's top diplomat say?

"I am in Georgia with a specific message: we want to see Georgia in the European Union," Baerbock said, alongside her Georgian counterpart, Ilia Darchiashvili.  

"The door to EU candidate status is wide open," she added.

Baerbock also praised Georgia, which neighbors Russia, for voting to back UN resolutions condemning Moscow's invasioon of Ukraine

However, the German minister also underscored that it was "essential that this country implements reforms so that Georgia can join the EU."

"We will be supporting you along this path," she said.

Baerbock: Door to EU candidate status 'wide open'

The road to joining the EU

Last year, the EU deferred Georgia's membership application to join the bloc. It said at the time that Tbilisi must conduct reforms before it is put on a formal membership path. Candidacy status was, however, granted to Ukraine and Moldova.

Georgia's government withdrew a controversial law earlier this month that would have required organizations receiving foreign funding to register as foreign agents.

This followed mass anti-government demonstrations, with protesters accusing the government of deviating from the country's pro-Western course.

Political polarization in Georgia

Baerbock said the government now had the task of "overcoming polarization, restoring confidence and decisively taking pending steps towards reform."

The EU is calling for Georgia to curb political polarization, reform the judicial system, establish an anti-corruption authority, boost media freedom and restrict the power of oligarchs.

The move to EU membership is enshrined in Georgia's constitution. It is also supported by at least 80% of the country's population, according to opinion polls.

dmn/nm (dpa, AFP)