Garibashvili: Georgia would have been 'first' to receive EU candidate status with 'merit-based approach'

Garibashvili: Georgia would have been 'first' to receive EU candidate status with 'merit-based approach'

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Tuesday said if the European Commission had adopted a “merit-based approach” in its decision on Georgia’s membership bid, the country would have been “the first” to receive the candidate status for European Union membership.

The Government head made the claim by highlighting the “very concrete deliverables and results” achieved in Georgia’s European integration path. 

"If you compare Georgia’s performance, our reforms - if this would have been a merit-based approach, of course, Georgia would have been the first country to be granted the candidate status. Why? Because of the very concrete deliverables, results in the performance of our country," Garibashvili said at the ongoing Qatar Economic Forum. 

The PM called the Commission’s granting of the “European prospective” to the three Associated Trio countries a “historic decision”.

"European prospective means that a country will become a member of the EU. Of course, the candidate status will follow under certain conditions, but I want to make it very clear - the conditions were put on all three nations, which is a very normal practice," he concluded in his comments. 

The European Commission on Friday recommended to the Council that Georgia should be given the perspective to become a member of the European Union. The Commission recommended the country be granted the membership candidate status once the certain priorities in different areas of the reform agenda are addressed. 

The European Commission will monitor Georgia's progress to address these priorities and report on them by the end of 2022.