Parliament presents Action Plan on implementation of EU-Georgia Association Agreement
This week, the Parliament of Georgia presented an Action Plan that outlines key parliamentary activities for 2019-2020 designed to support the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
Organised with the assistance of the EU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the presentation event brought together Georgian law-makers and representatives of civil society, diplomatic missions and international organizations.
Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the EU to Georgia, noted the increased role of the parliament in the implementation of the Association Agreement.
“The EU acknowledges Georgia’s good progress in the implementation of the country’s commitments under the Association Agreement,” Ambassador Hartzell said. “The Parliament of Georgia, as a key institution in this parliamentary democracy, plays an indispensable role in overseeing the implementation process and ensuring further democratic and other reforms.”
The Action Plan has been developed based on the findings of a baseline study supported by the EU and UNDP in 2017.
The Action Plan was adopted by the Parliament Bureau on 19 March 2019. It aims to streamline parliamentary activities and foster a strategic and uniform approach to the process across all involved committees. Three strategic goals described in the Action Plan refer to law-making and legislative approximation, oversight of the implementation of the Association Agreement, and effective public outreach and communication.
The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement
The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement, which we offer without change: "The United States is deeply disturbed and exasperated by the unilateral decision of the Georgian Dream party to withdraw from the April 19th Agreement, a document established through six months of difficult but collaborative negotiations, and one that gives an urgently-needed way forward for the Georgian people and their democracy. One hundred fifteen MPs from at least six of nine elected parties signed the Agreement and pledged to work together in good faith to reduce the deep polarization that is impeding Georgia’s democratic progress. Washington is growing increasingly alarmed about repeated setbacks to Georgia’s democratic future.All of the signatories should be held accountable to their commitments in the Agreement. While we continue to press for all parties to sign and fully implement the agreement, Georgian Dream’s unilateral withdrawal is another deviation from the letter and spirit of the negotiations Georgian Dream participated in and the agreement they signed. This decision by the ruling party only creates more political instability for the country and raises questions about Georgian Dream’s commitment to achieving Georgia’s democratic goals, goals that Georgian Dream itself set for the country.Georgia’s interests will be best served if the concrete judicial, constitutional, and electoral reform elements reached in the Agreement are implemented by multiparty consensus, rather than by unilateral action of one party. Timely progress in implementing these reforms is the most responsible way to end Georgia’s cycle of political crises, and remains critical to meeting Georgia's goals for its Euro-Atlantic future. Actions that create instability and divisiveness only benefit those trying to undermine Georgia’s success as a stable, prosperous democracy.The Agreement lays out a useful roadmap for important reforms that are needed to strengthen Georgia’s democratic institutions, reduce politicization of the judiciary, improve Georgia’s electoral system and power-sharing in the Parliament, and continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law. These reforms are still urgently needed, and should be adopted through an inclusive, multiparty process.We call on all parties, including Georgian Dream, to work together to fulfill in good faith the commitments they agreed to and that are vital to Georgia’s timely integration into the European family of nations".
MOD, Jewish enterprise sign agreement to produce M4 carbines
The representatives of Jewish enterprise and Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze signed a mutual cooperation agreement on Wednesday to produce M4 carbines at the State Military Scientific-Technical Center DELTA area by the end of 2021.
According to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), the weapons made in the enterprise will be handed over to the Defense Forces. Also, product export is planned.
A new Georgian-Jewish enterprise will launch at the State Military Scientific-Technical Center DELTA area to produce M4 carbines by the end of 2021, Georgian Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze briefed MPs within the ministerial hour on Thursday.
Moreover, Georgia has active talks with South African and Polish companies to set up a joint venture for small and large unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) at Delta, Minister stressed. The agreement will be signed this year, and UAV production will kick off in 2022.
Burchuladze added that Georgia would also secure an additional batch of Javelin Missiles from the US.
“It is critical to strengthen the defence capabilities, especially via the introduction of modern, NATO-standard weapons to maintain and greatly enhance the readiness of the defence forces,” the minister underscored.
Members of Parliament Vaccinated with China's Sinopharm
Members of Parliament got COVID-19 vaccinated publically. 20 MP were inoculated with chinese Sinopharm vaccine at the N. Kipshidze Central University Clinic. This info reported by the administration of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia.
Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Ekaterine Tikaradze got familiarized with the process of immunization in Tbilisi Republican Hospital.
Ekaterine Tikaradze extended her gratitude towards MPs for involvement in the process of vaccination and noted that participation of a legislative body and MPs will further intensify the process.
“The process of vaccination has significantly improved in Georgia. The readiness and trust for public side is increasing. Both work-related and business sector involvement are significant, since social and public responsibility of our citizens are manifested through wearing face masks, observing the rule of social distancing, active engagement on vaccination process. The Government decided to serve as a role model for the society. Active involvement of the ministers in the vaccination process has been observed recently; without any doubts, involvement of a legislative body and Members of Parliament is very important”, - stated Ekaterine Tikaradze.
Registration for Chinese Sinopharm vaccine has started in Georgia from April 27.
To book the vaccination please visit: booking.moh.gov.ge or call 15 22.
WHO, Public Health Institutions, and qualified doctors recommend COVID-19 vaccination!
Georgian delegation to Participate in PACE Session
The Permanent Delegation of the Parliament of Georgia, led by the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Kakha Kuchava, will take part in the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on April 19-22.
According to the press service of the Parliament, the main topics of discussion at the session will be the global pandemic and Covid-19 vaccination, the situation of ethnic minorities in Council of Europe member states, Council of Europe strategic priorities and current processes in the world.
Givi Mikanadze, a member of the Georgian parliamentary delegation, will address the Assembly regarding the legal status of ethnic minorities in Georgia and the steps taken by the state for their full integration.
On the occasion of the German Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth will participate in the spring session of PACE (19-22 April 2021) which will take place in a hybrid format.
The President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, the President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, and the Secretary General of the organisation, Marija Pejčinović Burić, will also address PACE.
At this session, the Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, will present her 2020 annual report and the Assembly will award its Václav Havel Human Rights Prize.
There have been requests for urgent debates on "The arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny in January 2021" and "The functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey", as well as for current affairs debates on "Covid passports or certificates: protection of fundamental rights and legal implications", "Armenian prisoners of war and other captives", "Covid-19 vaccination certificates: how to protect public health and human rights?", and "Russian threat to the pursuit of peace in Europe".
Topics on the agenda include a debate on the Assembly's vision of the Council of Europe's strategic priorities and a joint debate on human rights violations and the need for electoral reform in Belarus.
The OECD's work on taxing the digital economy with the participation of its Secretary General Ángel Gurría, discrimination against people with chronic and long-term illnesses, post-monitoring dialogue with Montenegro, the preservation of national minorities and a European policy on diasporas will also be discussed.
Georgia: Leading MEPs react to the refusal of the political parties to reach an agreement
In a joint statement, MEPs deplore that Georgia’s political leaders did not agree to EU mediator Christian Danielsson’s proposal and announce consequences in terms of EU-Georgia relations.
Following a meeting on 1 April with Christian Danielsson, personal envoy of European Council President Charles Michel for the EU-mediated political dialogue in Georgia, leading MEPs issued the following joint statement:
“We are deeply disappointed with the political leaders in Georgia for their inability to reach an agreement last Tuesday despite the best efforts deployed by the European Union to help put an end to the current political crisis. Both the ruling and the main opposition parties taking part in the discussions are to be blamed for this outcome and a special responsibility lies with the party in government.
We reiterate our strong support to Christian Danielsson’s tireless work and welcome the publication of the proposal he made to the political parties, which further increased the transparency of the mediation process. It is essential to rebuild confidence between political party actors. The content of this proposal is indeed the right way ahead for Georgia: ambitious electoral and judicial reforms, meaningful sharing of responsibilities in the Georgian Parliament and, most importantly, a solution on future elections and on two cases of politicised justice. This solution is politically balanced and respects both the rule of law and the international assessment of the 2020 elections. We also welcome the idea of a Jean-Monnet Dialogue process supported by the European Parliament, when the political situation allows.
Following the refusal from the political parties to compromise, Georgia’s leaders should not expect a return to business as usual from the European Union. The European Parliament in particular will call for consequences in terms of EU financial assistance, including both a suspension of further disbursements of and an increase in conditionality linked to EU Macro Financial Assistance and budget support programmes.
In the meantime, the adoption of ongoing electoral and judicial reforms in the Georgian Parliament requires broad political support and the need to fully implement the recommendations of OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission. These reforms are key to rebuild trust. We call on the ruling party to ensure a genuinely inclusive process to avoid the further undermining of both future elections and the judiciary, as well as unnecessarily closing the door to a possible agreement in the future.
We call on Georgia’s leaders to take action immediately. The future of EU-Georgia relations is at stake.”
The increasing frictions between political parties in Georgia following the November 2020 parliamentary elections and the arrest of the opposition leader in mid-February have sparked a major political crisis in Georgia. The EU is actively engaged to help overcome the tensions among Georgia's political parties. Christian Danielsson, European Council President Charles Michel's personal envoy, conducted in Tbilisi two rounds of mediation among the parties and presented a proposal for a way ahead for Georgia. The European Parliament strongly supports his efforts.
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (The Greens/EFA, Germany), lead member of the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group for Georgia;
Sven Mikser (S&D, Estonia), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Georgia;
Michael Gahler (EPP, Germany), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Ukraine;
Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe, Lithuania), European Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur on Belarus.