Several European countries once within the Soviet sphere of influence have made successful transitions in escaping the shadow of communism, becoming fully-fledged members of the EU and NATO. Other countries are nevertheless struggling with the Kremlin’s hegemony in the region. Georgia is still partially held in the grip of Moscow, which occupies some of its territories. Will this difficult legacy and the numerous problems with its political system hinder it from getting to a brighter future?
Together with Ukraine and Moldova, Georgia submitted an application for accession to the European Union soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In early March, the EU began formally processing these three countries’ applications, and in April, the European Commission sent their respective governments the formal application questionnaires.
Georgia responded to the part of the questionnaire regarding political and economic criteria, in early May. On June 17, at the request of the Council, the European Commission presented its opinions on the EU membership applications, in which it recommended refusing to grant Georgia EU candidate status for the present time, yet retaining the accession perspective.
The European Commission considers Georgia to have laid the necessary foundations for the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and the protection of minorities, even though recent events have undermined the country's progress. However, further reforms are needed to improve the functioning of the market economy. The EC also recommends that Georgia adopts and implements a transparent and effective judicial reform strategy. All the while the EU remains committed to further strengthening ties and deepening partnerships that support Georgia, along with Ukraine and Moldova, by means of Association Agreements and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas.