Georgian EU Membership in Jeopardy
Members of the European Parliament are criticising the current leadership of Georgia, saying the country’s cruel treatment of its ex-president jeopardises its aspirations to attain EU membership.
A Georgian court on Monday, February 6th, rejected former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s appeal for release on medical grounds. Saakashvili called the court proceedings “a joke” and said,
The government’s experts did not even bother to see me once, but the court believed them, and not the international team that included a Nobel Prize winner, that said if I stay in prison I will die … Now I’ve basically got a death sentence.
The imprisonment by Georgian authorities of the former president, who Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says is being “slowly killed” in prison, was condemned by EU lawmakers during last week’s parliamentary session. Saakashvili is under arrest on charges of corruption, but he claims the charges are politically motivated by rivals in his native Caucasus Republic, principally the ruling Georgian Dream party. This cruel treatment of an ex-statesman puts Georgia’s aspiration to join the EU into serious doubt.
Speaking for the EPP Group, Slovakian MEP Maria Lexman stated that the former president’s treatment may endanger the nation’s application for EU membership. She criticised the current Georgian leadership, saying that the “games, tricks, and lies must stop. This shameful behaviour is in direct contradiction to the [Georgian] government’s stated European aspiration, and the very values and principles entailed.”