Wilfried Martens, Belgian veteran politician and co-founder of the European People’s Party, is a staunch supporter of Georgia’s president, Mikheil Saakashvili. (Official photo.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The European People’s Party has published a declaration that highlights a divide in how current events in Georgia are understood in Brussels and Tbilisi.

The EPP has adopted a declaration that makes it clear that the party thinks Georgia is no longer on the way towards EU membership.

The declaration offers a ‘roadmap’ for how Georgia can ‘restore’ the process towards Euro-Atlantic integration, reaffirming its support for this.

It started as 23 members of the European parliament for the European People’s Party March 6 published an open letter addressed to Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, criticizing him for allegedly not adhering to European values and threatening the country’s prospects of EU membership.

The parliament speaker in Georgia, and later Ivanishvili himself, answered back that it was the EPP politicians who had misinterpreted what’s going on in Georgia, and that it’s their support for the political party of President Mikheil Saakashvili that is in violation of European values.

Later, on March 13, the EPP adopted a declaration with a roadmap for rescuing Georgia’s prospects of becoming EU member. The EPP writes that even though the negotiations about an Association Agreement with the EU are completed, its signature and its ratification by the EU is ‘endangered’.

“However, the Presidency of the European People’s Party believes that through a comprehensive dialogue with the Georgian government confidence between the European Union and Georgia can be restored and the obstacles overcome.”

In his long letter to EPP MEPs, Ivanishvili describes in detail the situation in Georgia in six areas: judiciary, media, corruption, violence, elections and human rights.

Now the EPP declaration gives recommendations to improve the situation in three areas: democracy, judiciary and media.

Meanwhile, President Saakashvili yesterday arrived in Brussels to attend a summit of EPP leaders. He was invited by the EPP’s president and co-founder, Wilfried Martens, who in December 2011 said he supported Saakashvili. The summit will be attended by European leaders, heads of state and representatives of international organizations. The Georgian National Movement party has observer status.

Read the text of the March 13 declaration here: http://www.epp.eu/pressnew.asp?artid=2016