Nikol Pashinyan: ‘Armenia is today unequivocally a democratic country’
“Armenia is today unequivocally a democratic country with absolute freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and our government is continuing to enhance respect for human rights,” said Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia, addressing the Assembly today.
“We have managed to root out systemic corruption and to create real prerequisites for everyone’s equality before the law,” the Prime Minister added, evoking “vast political changes” in the country since “the non-violent, velvet, people’s revolution” about a year ago.
However, Mr Pashinyan underlined, “our democracy needs to be reinforced with economic and institutional safeguards. The development of democratic institutions, the existence of an independent judiciary, and the creation and strengthening of anti-corruption institutions are all key areas in which we need the support of the Council of Europe.”
“This is important not only for consolidating the outcomes of our political revolution, but also succeeding in our recently-launched economic revolution, aimed at encouraging the economic activity of our citizens, creating real opportunities for them, making Armenia even more attractive for investments and tourism,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr Pashinyan also said that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remained a serious challenge for the whole region and that Armenia’s government was committed to the principle of only peaceful settlement of the issue. “I am convinced that mere dialogue between the leaders is not enough for settling the issue. It is very important to launch a dialogue between societies, as well, so that we prepare our respective societies for peace and not for war,” he concluded.
Irakli Garibashvili: We take to heart the tragic events in Kazakhstan; we hope that all steps will be taken as fast as possible to deescalate the situation, ensure safety and stability
We take to heart the tragic events in Kazakhstan that have claimed dozens of lives, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated during today's Cabinet meeting.
The Head of Government also spoke about Georgian citizens in Kazakhstan, with some of them already having returned home, and the embassy maintaining active communication with those remaining on the ground, assisting them as-needed basis; they will return home in next few days.
"Allow me to comment on the situation in Kazakhstan. We are keeping a close eye on the events of the past few days. We take to heart the tragic events in Kazakhstan. We hope that all steps will be taken as fast as possible to deescalate the situation, ensure safety and stability. We want Kazakhstan to leave this crisis behind soon in order to continue its path toward development. As for Georgian citizens in Kazakhstan, the Georgian embassy is maintaining contact with them as much as possible to assist them on the ground. As a result of the Government's active work, some have already returned. The embassy maintains active communication with those remaining on the ground, assisting them as-needed basis; they will return to Georgia in next few days," the Prime Minister said.
Press Service of the Government Administration
I. Garibashvili: According to preliminary data for 11 months of the year, economic growth has reached 10.7%; We reached a double-digit economic growth in 2021
I wish to let our society know how we completed the past budget year and what are the key macroeconomic and fiscal parameters of 2021, irrespective of the challenges borne by the global pandemic that the country faced in 2021. It was stated by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia at the Executive Government Meeting today.
As the Head of Government of Georgia noted, the State Budget for 2021 was planned at the end of 2020 - in the most difficult circumstances in terms of epidemic and economic conditions. Hence, expectation of the economic recovery in 2021 was rather marginal.
"Economic growth projections reached 4.3% back then. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was projected in the volume of 53.4 BLN GEL. Government Debt was projected above 60 percent of the GDP, while the consolidated budget deficit was forecasted to reach 7.6% of GDP.
2021 started at a quite difficult note: economic shortfall reached 11.5 percent in January. We were actually in the lock-down regime with a very high viral spread and unfortunate losses of human lives.
Nevertheless, the situation changed radically from March-April, when an economic growth indicator first turned positive in March and then reached an unprecedentedly high indicator in April at 44.8%. Foreign trade and other economic indicators started to improve quickly from the same period.
According to the preliminary data for the first 11 months of the year, economic growth reached 10.7% and the overall annual indicator is expected to get to 10.7%, which is 2.5 times higher compared to the original projection.
As a result of the high economic growth, nominal indicators of the GDP have increased considerably and reached 59.6 BLN GEL in updated projections compared to the originally forecasted 53.4 BLN GEL.
According to the overall data for the first 11 months of the year, export has grown by 26.7 percent, including the local export - by 28.7 percent; proceeds from tourism have increased by 112 percent compared to the previous year and exceeded the respective indicator of 2019 by 37 percent. It should be noted that since July, proceeds from tourism exceed 50 percent of the respective month in 2019 (55% in November); Net remittances in the first 11 months of the year increased by 25.4 percent. Current account deficit in the first 3 quarters of the year improved by 2.1 percentage points of GDP, including the improvement by 6.1 percentage points in Q3. We expect the annual current account deficit to be reduced to 10.5 percent in 2021, while returning to 5 percent over a medium-term" stated the Head of Government of Georgia.
As the Prime Minister of Georgia noted, economic recovery has enabled the Government to substantially improve the key fiscal parameters.
"Quick economic recovery has enabled us to substantially improve the key fiscal parameters and namely Government Debt has been reduced to 50% instead of the anticipated 60.1% as a share of GDP, while the consolidated budget deficit was originally planned to reach 7.6% and instead narrowed to 6.1% as a share of GDP. Thus, I once again wish to wrap-up by saying that we reached a double-digit economic growth in 2021" concluded Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Prime Minister of Georgia Meets His Armenian Colleague
Interaction between our people has a long history, similar to the political and economic relations existing between Georgia and Armenia. It was announced by Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia at a face to face meeting with Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia in Tbilisi today.
The Head of Government of Georgia stressed the significance of the visit paid by his Armenian colleague in relation with the Inter-Governmental Economic Cooperation Commission, thereby noting that this format was resumed after a gap of several years with a personal engagement of Nikol Pashinyan, which again evidences the productive cooperation advanced to the highest - Prime Ministerial - level.
It was also noted at the meeting that the Inter-Governmental Commission facilitates the advancement of economic and political ties between Georgia and Armenia.
Dignitaries focused their discussions on the current situation in the region and significance of joint efforts in addressing the current challenges.
Irakli Garibashvili noted that Peaceful Neighbourhood Initiative voiced at the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) is aimed at the stimulation of peace and stability in the region, as democratic development, strong public institutions, open and transparent governance, economic progress can only be achieved in the conditions of peace and regional stability.
Face to face meeting of the Georgian and Armenian Prime Ministers was held at the Government Administration prior to the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Economic Cooperation Council.
Press Service of the Government Administration
PACE rapporteurs call upon all political forces to overcome extremely polarised political climate
Strasbourg, 17.12.2021 - Following their visit to the country from 8 to 10 December 2021, the rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for the Monitoring Procedure in respect of Georgia, Mr Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC) and Mr Claude Kern (France, ALDE), expressed their serious concern about the extremely polarised political climate in the country which is foreclosing any political co-operation and dialogue. This is undermining the political stability and democratic consolidation of the country, putting at risk the considerable progress made by Georgia in this respect over the years. The rapporteurs emphasised that democratic consolidation and Euro-Atlantic integration are the shared responsibility of all political forces in the country and therefore urged them, in particular the two largest parties, Georgian Dream and the United National Movement, to place the common good of the nation over any narrow party-political strategies.
The rapporteurs noted that the October 2021 local elections had, as they had feared, been a de facto plebiscite on the ruling majority, and had resulted in an increasingly harsh and contentious electoral environment. That said, they welcomed that, as a result of the consensual reform of the electoral code earlier this year, the legal framework for elections had considerably improved, which had benefited the organisation of the election process . At the same time they expressed their concern about the many reports of abuse of administrative resources and pressure on voters, as well as incidents of violence. They called upon the authorities to fully and transparently investigate, and where necessary address, all allegations and reports of electoral misconduct.
The establishment of a genuinely independent and impartial judiciary that has the full trust of Georgian citizens is an essential condition for the further democratic consolidation of the country. Recognising the progress made in this respect, the rapporteurs urged the authorities to conduct the comprehensive and independent evaluation of the third and fourth wave that was agreed upon in the Michel agreement. Such an comprehensive evaluation, which needs to be conducted independently to ensure public trust, should identify areas of success as well as remaining shortcomings and should guide future reforms. The rapporteurs felt that the Venice Commission should play an important role in such an independent evaluation. In this respect the rapporteurs deeply regretted that the parliament had continued to appoint new Supreme Court judges, despite the calls from the international community not to.. For the rapporteurs this also underscores the need for further reform of the High Council of Justice, whose functioning remains an obstacle for the establishment of a genuinely independent and trusted judiciary.
On the occasion of their visit the rapporteurs also focussed on developments with regard to minorities in Georgia. In this respect they welcomed that the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention on National Minorities had noted the greatly improved legal framework for national minority and anti-discrimination issues. However, the rapporteurs underscored the need, expressed by the Advisory Committee to further strengthen the quality of education for minorities as well as minority language education, and urged the authorities to do this as a priority. With regard to LGBTI issues, the rapporteurs expressed their concern about the increasing public expressions of homophobia and intolerance towards the LGBTI community. In this context they condemned the violent attacks and counter demonstrations that had occurred during Gay Pride Week in July 2021. The rapporteurs urged the authorities to fully investigate these violent actions, and bring perpetrators to justice, including with regard to the organisers of these violent actions and those forces enticing them.
The rapporteurs will present their report on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Georgia to the Assembly in the first half of 2022.
of the PACE Communication Division
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili attends the presentation of a new reconnaissance vehicle at Delta
Georgian Prime Minister, together with Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze, attended today's presentation of a new reconnaissance vehicle manufactured by the state army scientific and technical center Delta.
The Head of Government inspected the new reconnaissance vehicle and was briefed by Delta's constructors about its tactical and technical characteristics.
The new reconnaissance vehicle manufactured by Delta fully meets the Defense Force's requirements and international standards.
This armored 330-horsepower reconnaissance vehicle, accommodating 7 service members, is protected from bullets of different calibers. The vehicle's speed on asphalt is up to 100 kph, also technically being able to cross 60-meter trenches, 40-cm vertical steps and, without preliminary preparation, 80-cm water depths. The new armored vehicle is designed to carry various types of reconnaissance equipment and remote combat modules.
Delta manufactures armored machinery for various purposes and of diverse capabilities. The reconnaissance vehicle model in discussion is the first of its kind to be manufactured by the center. Batch reconnaissance machinery production and export is also planned for the future.
The Prime Minister also inspected Delta-manufactured army uniforms, grenade launchers of various calibers, and off-route anti-tank mines.
Irakli Garibashvili also visited Delta CAA, a joint Georgian-Israeli weapons manufacturer, where he familiarized himself with the process of weapon production utilizing the latest equipment. The Georgian-Israeli weapons manufacturer uses the latest equipment to ensure top-notch galvanization, chroming, and anodizing. The equipment is environmentally safe and meets international standards.
For the presentation of the new reconnaissance vehicle, the Prime Minister was joined by Deputy Chief of the Defense Forces/Brigadier General Joni Tatunashvili, Deputy Defense Minister Zurab Azarashvili, Delta's CEO, and representatives of the Defense Forces.
Press Service of the Government Administration