Hundreds of Georgians March in Support of Country’s Candidacy for European Union Membership
December 12, 2023 | by b1og.net
Join the hundreds of Georgians who are marching in support of their country’s candidacy for European Union membership. The EU is set to announce on December 15 whether Georgia will be granted candidate status, a significant step towards potential membership. In a peaceful and powerful rally called “Your Voice to EU,” participants walked from First Republic Square to Europe Square, proudly waving a massive EU flag that symbolized the unity of the Georgian people. President Salome Zourabichvili, who initiated the march, emphasized the collective wish of Georgia to join Europe. This event highlights the growing divide between Zourabichvili and the ruling Georgian Dream party, as well as the opposition’s concerns about pro-Russia policies.
On December 15, the European Union made an announcement regarding Georgia’s candidacy for EU membership. This was a highly anticipated decision for the country and its people. Prior to this announcement, the government of Georgia had been advised to address certain shortcomings, including issues related to corruption and election deficiencies. It was crucial for the government to demonstrate progress in these areas in order to receive candidacy status.
Amidst this backdrop, President Salome Zourabichvili played a prominent role in pro-EU rallies leading up to the announcement. Her presence at these rallies highlighted her support for Georgia’s aspiration to join the EU and showcased the growing divide between her and the ruling Georgian Dream party.
To show their support for Georgia’s candidacy for EU membership, hundreds of people took to the streets of the capital city, Tbilisi, in a peaceful march. The location of the march was from First Republic Square to Europe Square, symbolizing the country’s desire to be a part of the 27-nation EU bloc. One of the main symbols of the march was the unfurled EU flag, with each star made in a different region of Georgia. This symbolized the unity of the Georgian people in their aspiration to join the EU.
The march was organized by civil society groups, under the initiative of President Salome Zourabichvili. It showcased the will and choice of the people, emphasizing their wish to be a part of Europe. The participation of people from all walks of life in the march demonstrated their collective support for Georgia’s EU membership.
President Salome Zourabichvili’s involvement in the pro-EU rallies highlighted her differences with the ruling Georgian Dream party. While she does not belong to any political party, Georgian Dream had backed her candidacy in the 2018 presidential election. However, since assuming office, President Zourabichvili has increasingly disagreed with the party’s decisions and policies, particularly when it comes to foreign affairs.
The growing divide between President Zourabichvili and Georgian Dream has become evident through her presence at pro-EU rallies. These events showcased her commitment to Georgia’s European integration and her support for the aspirations of the Georgian people.
Accusations against Georgian Dream Party
Opposition parties have accused the ruling Georgian Dream party of pursuing pro-Russia policies, despite claiming to be Western-oriented. These accusations have raised concerns among those who advocate for Georgia’s EU membership. Critics argue that the party’s founder, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia, still wields influence in the country’s governance, despite not holding any official government position.
However, the Georgian Dream party has consistently denied any links to Russia and has shown its commitment to Georgia’s Western orientation. It is important to note that these accusations continue to be a point of contention within the country’s political landscape.
Protests Against Proposed Law
In March, large-scale protests took place in Georgia in response to a proposed foreign agent law. The legislation would have required media and nongovernmental organizations receiving more than 20% of their funding from foreign sources to register as “agents of foreign influence.” Opponents of the law argued that it mirrored a similar law in Russia which is known to stifle dissent and curtail freedom of expression.
The protests against the proposed law were successful, as Georgian Dream ultimately withdrew the legislation. This victory was seen as a significant achievement for civil society and freedom of speech in Georgia. The comparison to the Russian law was instrumental in mobilizing opposition and highlighting the potential negative consequences of such a law for Georgia’s aspirations to join the EU and NATO.
The relationship between Russia and Georgia has been characterized by a long history of tensions and complexities, especially since the collapse of the Soviet Union. One of the major flashpoints in their relationship was the 2008 war, which resulted in Georgia losing control of two Russia-friendly separatist regions. This conflict had a lasting impact on the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Despite some improvement in bilateral relations in recent years, the issue of the regions’ status remains unresolved and continues to strain relations between Russia and Georgia. It is important to acknowledge the complexities and challenges that exist in this relationship, which have implications for Georgia’s aspirations for EU membership.
The march in support of Georgia’s candidacy for EU membership was a powerful demonstration of the people’s hopes and dreams for their country. It showcased their unity and desire to be a part of the European Union. President Zourabichvili’s involvement in the pro-EU rallies highlighted the growing divide with the ruling Georgian Dream party.
Accusations against the Georgian Dream party regarding pro-Russia policies and alleged influence from Bidzina Ivanishvili remain contentious issues. However, the withdrawal of the proposed foreign agent law following widespread protests represents a significant achievement for civil society and freedom of expression in Georgia.
The history of strained relations between Russia and Georgia, including the 2008 war, continues to shape the geopolitical landscape of the region. The resolution of these conflicts and the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two countries remain challenges that Georgia must navigate in its pursuit of EU membership.
Overall, the pro-EU march and subsequent events have brought attention to Georgia’s aspirations for European integration and have created a momentum for progress. The decision by the European Union regarding Georgia’s candidacy for membership will have far-reaching implications for the country’s future and its place on the international stage.