HE Ursula von der Leyen
President of the European Commission
18 September, 2023, Tbilisi
Dear President von der Leyen,
Europe has held a special place in the hearts and aspirations of the Georgian people for centuries. It stands as both a historic choice and the current unwavering top foreign policy priority for Georgia. Since regaining its independence, Georgia has taken significant steps towards European integration, with the ultimate goal of joining the European Union (EU). One of the major milestones in this journey was the signing of the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU, which also included the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA). In 2022, following Russia's unprovoked and unjustified war in Ukraine, Georgia applied for EU membership. In a historic decision, the EU granted Georgia the European perspective and set out a list of 12 priorities aimed at strengthening Georgian democracy and institutions, which must be fulfilled to achieve EU membership candidate status.
According to the interim assessment from the EU Commission, Georgia has made certain progress in multiple directions. Surely, important work remains to be done, as noted by Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the European Commission.
During his recent visit to Georgia, Mr Borrell stressed the overwhelming European aspiration of the Georgian people and emphasised that Georgia belongs to the European family. However, political polarisation continues to hinder the EU accession process, which should be regarded as "a national endeavour that needs to stand over party politics". He called on Georgian leaders not to miss this historic opportunity to achieve EU membership candidate status. The High Representative also noted that "Georgia can count on the European Union and the EU door is open for Georgia" and that "the EU wants to see Georgia succeeding on its European path." Indeed, we strongly believe that, as You recently stated during the State of the Union address to the European Parliament, the place of Georgia is in the European Union.
With the EU Commission's enlargement report on Georgia's progress approaching, it is vital to engage in further work on the 12 priorities. This process should unite all stakeholders during this crucial moment for the national goal of EU accession.
Pursuing democratic reforms on the path to EU integration is a continuing and complex process that demands constant effort. By recommending candidate status for Georgia, the EU can support and facilitate Georgia's European reform agenda and further boost Georgia's commitment to aligning with EU standards in every criterion.
Given the complex geopolitical situation that presents Georgia with pressing security issues, granting candidate status to Georgia would be crucial in enhancing Georgia's security during these challenging times and allowing Georgia to devote more efforts to democratic reforms.
We, the civil society organisations, express our hope that the EU Commission recommends granting EU membership candidate status to Georgia. This would mark another milestone toward fulfilling Georgia's historic choice, serve as a catalyst for continuous democratic reforms that strengthen institutions, and bolster Georgia's, as well as Europe's, security.
Georgia's Reforms Associates (GRASS)
Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF)
Democracy Research Institute (DRI)
Georgian Court Watch
Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS)