Citizens often send messages to the President of the European Parliament (or to the institution’s public portal) expressing their views on current issues and/or requesting action from the Parliament. The Citizens’ Enquiries Unit (AskEP) within the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) looks into these issues and replies to the messages, which may sometimes be identical as part of wider public campaigns.
The President of the European Parliament has recently received a large number of messages calling on the EU to recognise Georgia’s progress towards accession. Citizens first began to write to the President on this subject in May 2022. In February 2022, in a non-binding resolution, the European Parliament underlined that Georgia could start its accession process to the EU provided that it guarantees democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities. The European Parliament also called for the EU and its Member States to recognise Georgia’s European perspective.
Please find below the main points of the reply sent to citizens who took the time to write to the President of the European Parliament on this matter.
Main points made in the reply
When asked about Georgia obtaining candidate status to join the EU at a press point with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the European Parliament on 28 April 2022, President Metsola stated: ‘This Parliament has always welcomed any country that looks to Europe as its home, that that should be the step that is taken. […] We are in constant contact with our Georgian partners and also representatives of the Georgian parliament in order to make sure that when that step happens, that you mentioned, we are ready to make our commitment and this parliament has never shied away from it.’ (Transcript)
On 17 February 2022, just before Russia’s most recent aggression against Ukraine began, the European Parliament adopted a non-binding resolution on the annual report on the implementation of the EU’s common foreign and security policy. In this resolution, the European Parliament underlines that Georgia (and Ukraine) could start their accession process to the EU provided that they guarantee democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities – known as the ‘Copenhagen criteria‘.
Furthermore, the European Parliament resolution calls for the EU and its Member States to recognise Georgia’s (and Ukraine’s) European perspective, which is considered vitally important for the countries’ security and stability, as well as a driver for their continued implementation of internal reforms.
Previous debate and resolution
The European Parliament had previously adopted a non-binding resolution, on 16 September 2020, on the implementation of the EU Association Agreement with Georgia. The Parliament welcomed the continued deepening of EU-Georgia relations and the firm support that Georgia’s chosen path of European and Euro-Atlantic integration enjoys across the political spectrum and in European society. Parliament also recalled that enhanced cooperation and EU assistance are based on the ‘more for more’ principle and are conditional on continued reform progress on, in particular, democracy and the rule of law, including checks and balances in the institutions, independence of the judiciary and electoral reform.
Accession to the EU
As to Georgia’s request for accession to the EU, the European Parliament’s formal decision-making role is limited. The European Parliament must give its consent (approve or reject but not amend) to any new accession to the EU. The decision to open membership negotiations has to be taken by the EU governments unanimously. More information on EU enlargement and the European Parliament’s role is available in this EP Factsheet.
Finally, the European Parliament has a Delegation for relations with the South Caucasus (DSCA) where Members of the European Parliament regularly discuss Georgia-EU relations with Members of Parliament from Georgia.