Georgian authorities, opposition hold separate rallies on occasion of EU candidate status granted to country


A mass rally on the occasion of granting EU candidate status to Georgia is being held in Tbilisi on Friday afternoon, an Interfax correspondent reported.

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, parliament speaker Shalva Papuashvili, and the leader of the ruling Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze spoke at the rally to highlight the current government’s role in the EU’s positive decision granting Georgia candidate country status for membership in the European Union. However, rally organizers did not give the floor to Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili.

Georgia’s rulers regard Zourabichvili as an opposition to Georgia’s accession to the EU, although she makes claims otherwise.

Mingling with people who gathered for a rally on Freedom Square in Tbilisi, Zourabichvili told reporters that the granting of EU candidate status to Georgia was “a very significant step.”

“Despite the differences in political views, I congratulate all the citizens of Georgia on the adopted EU decision. I want to specially congratulate our citizens in Abkhazia and South Ossetia, who are also happy today,” Zourabichvili said.

Opposition members on Friday held their own rally in another place in Tbilisi. According to the opposition, it is the people of Georgia, not the incumbent government, that have made the main contribution to the adoption of the EU decision to grant candidate status to Georgia.

Local performers are now giving a concert to people who earlier arrived in the Georgian capital from regions and gathered on Tbilisi’s Freedom Square.

On Thursday, EU leaders voted for the decision to start EU accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova, President of the European Council Charles Michel said. The EU also granted candidate status to Georgia, he said.



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