Carl Hartzell, the EU Ambassador to Georgia, said during a press conference on the handover of the EU membership questionnaire to Georgian authorities on Monday that the “ball is in Georgia’s court” on the “huge and difficult” job on the path of the country’s European Union membership process.
The questionnaire was handed over to Georgia’s Foreign Minister by European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi yesterday, and Hartzell said the development signalled the time for local political forces to unite in efforts to reform and expedite the membership procedure.
Moreover, he also stated that the number of questions in the questionnaire for Georgia had been reduced in comparison to previous aspiring countries in order to expedite the process. Georgia’s questionnaire has 369 questions, which is notably fewer than the questionnaires received from other EU partners. Previously, nations wishing to join the Union were sent questionnaires with between 2,000 and 5,000 questions.
Furthermore, the Ambassador of the European Union explained that the length of the questionnaire was decided because “this is a special period,” with the European Commission attempting to speed up the membership process despite ongoing military activities in Ukraine and threats to the Black Sea region.
“The European Union has never been on such a very fastest path before accession, as it is a very important, fundamental process for both the European Union and the applicant country. We’re currently witnessing the fastest process that even the EU can carry out. We can emphasise a historic moment; in fact, it is a historic moment, yet, there are many challenges. It is vital that these perspectives are used and that the challenges that exist are overcome,” Hartzell said.
According to the EU official, the time has come for Georgian political parties to “give their best and be united” in order to strengthen Georgia’s role in the world and in Europe.
The European Commission will prepare a report and send it to the European Council following the Georgian authorities’ response to the questionnaire. Georgia has one and a half months to finish the questionnaire.