Poland-Georgia Consultations Address Bilateral Relations and EU Integration Amid Draft Law Concerns

Georgia's EU integration faces challenges as controversial draft law raises concerns, but diplomatic efforts continue to address issues and keep accession process on track.

Mazhar Abbas
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Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Attends Consultations in Georgia Amid EU Integration Concerns

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Attends Consultations in Georgia Amid EU Integration Concerns

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Marek Prawda attended Poland-Georgia political consultations in Tbilisi, Georgia on April 25, 2024 to discuss bilateral relations and Georgia's progress in its EU integration. The consultations came amid concerns raised by EU officials, including High Representative Josep Borrell, over a controversial draft law in Georgia that would require non-commercial entities and media outlets receiving over 20% of their funding from abroad to register as 'pursuing the interests of a foreign power'.

Borrell urged Georgia's leaders to withdraw the draft law, stating it was "incompatible with EU norms and values and would jeopardise Georgia's progress on the EU path". The EU and US have expressed concerns that the law would limit the capacity of Georgia's civil society and media to operate freely. As an EU candidate country, Georgia is expected to adhere to the Copenhagen criteria, including principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights, which Borrell said would determine the pace of Georgia's EU accession negotiations.

On the same day, the Georgian Government's European Union Integration Commission, led by Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, adopted an action plan for 2024 to further the country's integration into the EU. The action plan covers all directions outlined in the 2014 EU Association Agreement and aims to launch accession negotiations with the EU in the near future. The participants reviewed the action plan's nine priorities set by the European Council, new requirements for Georgia's membership in the Single Euro Payments Area, and measures for legal rapprochement with the EU. The prospects of integration into the European single market were also discussed.

Deputy Foreign Minister Teimuraz Janjalia and Vice PM and Economy Minister Levan Davitashvili presented the annual report on the 2023 action plan implementation. The Chair of the Georgian Parliament's EU Integration Committee, Maka Botchorishvili, expressed optimism about the European Council's future decisions on Georgia, including opening accession negotiations. The Latvian, Slovenian, and Finnish ministers voiced support for Georgia's European integration, with the Finnish minister noting the progress achieved by Georgia.

Why this matters: Georgia's controversial draft law has raised alarm bells in the EU about the country's commitment to democratic norms as it seeks to advance its EU membership bid. The political consultations and action plan adoption highlight the ongoing diplomatic efforts to address these concerns and keep Georgia's EU integration on track.

Georgia's EU Challenge: The Poland-Georgia consultations and EU Integration Commission meeting emphasize the complex dynamics at play as Georgia navigates its EU accession process. While Georgian officials express optimism and adopt plans to further integration, the draft law has cast a shadow over the country's progress. The coming months will be critical in determining whether Georgia can address the EU's concerns and maintain momentum in its membership journey.

Key Takeaways

  • Polish, Georgian officials discussed EU integration, draft law concerns.
  • EU, US worried draft law would limit civil society, media freedom.
  • Georgia adopted EU integration action plan, aims to start accession talks.
  • EU officials, allies voiced support for Georgia's European integration.
  • Georgia's draft law casts doubt on commitment to EU norms, progress.