Reforms are moving Georgia closer than ever to the European Union

The Georgian Government is committed to advancing our application for full membership to the European Union, enhancing and deepening our cooperation with NATO and the Western Alliance and reducing regional tensions to ensure stability and security for Georgian citizens and businesses. We have a record of accomplishments that includes electoral and economic reforms.

Economic reforms have been praised by many International origanisations. The World Bankpublished an authoritative 150-page research report based on economic data and policy analysis from 190 countries. The conclusion is that in 2020 Georgia ranks #7 in the world for business environment. That is a higher position than 26 of the 27 EU Member States, and higher than the U.K. Not exactly ‘stalled progress’.

The World Bank specifically praises the incumbent Georgian Dream government as a “star reformer” highlighting that “deep reforms in economic management” have “introduced rules and regulations that make it easier to do business…” but also that “the poor have benefitted considerably from the Government’s social policies [and] new economic opportunities.” This sounds like a country and a government that is making excellent progress, according to the experts at the World Bank.

Other authoritative experts support the World Bank’s facts. Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index places Georgia 12th in the world, once again well above the majority of European countries. The Index notes that “The Georgian economy continues its spectacular, seven-year run up the ranks…” and “Multi-year reforms to reduce corruption, cut regulation, and simplify taxes have led to upward movement in all aspects of economic freedom.”

There is not space here to list all the evidence. The Council of Europe, EU Commission, Fraser Institute, US State Department: these are just a few of the major international institutions whose published reports and statements support the World Bank’s data.

Let us not dwell only on economic data. The success of Georgian Dream’s government is evaluated not only in monetary terms. The Georgian Dream government recently passed the most ambitious electoral reform in the history of modern Georgia. The reforms usher in a more plural, more proportional and more representative electoral system for Georgia, for the first time. The reform means Georgians will enjoy the same proportional electoral system used in large parts of the EU, including for elections to the EU Parliament. Far from what so-called experts have hinted to, Georgian Dream’s reforms are moving Georgia closer than ever to the European Union.

Do not merely take my word for it. Members of the EU Parliament described the reform as “a turning point in Georgia’s political life … we wish to congratulate all the participants of this sometimes-arduous political dialogue”; the German Ambassador H.E. Hubert Knirsch called it “a remarkable achievement … this is exactly what international partners support”. The U.S. State Department said “The United States applauds Georgia’s historic adoption of constitutional amendments that establish a more proportional electoral system”.

To summarise, the world’s leading governments, and institutions, and experts have produced voluminous evidence and statements categorically disproving unfounded claims that are surfacing ahead of the 31 October elections.

Georgian democracy – as evidenced by strong support from European and U.S. governments for the electoral reforms – is in very sound health. Georgian Dream remains 100% committed to Georgia’s Western path including applying for membership of the European Union and of NATO.

Free and fair Parliamentary elections will be held in Georgia on October 31st. Georgian Dream won in free and fair elections in 2016 and remains confident of securing re-election based on our track record of economic reform, social justice, and commitment to Georgia’s Western direction.

Georgians have a long and sad experience of disinformation – this year’s elections will no doubt be a target for Russian meddling campaigns, as many other elections have been before. The goal of such efforts is to undermine the facts, and to confuse and distort reality through innuendo and false narratives. Georgians have become used to such tactics emanating from hostile actors; it is very disappointing to see these same narratives voiced by former European politicians.

The facts are clear, as set out by international institutions and experts: Georgia’s Western direction is accelerating and that acceleration is underpinned by a strong economy and a revitalized democracy.

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