My visit to Georgia was eye opening, to say the least - The President of the European Council
EU and MRDI visit first results of GEL 220 million territorial development programme in Georgia’s regions
Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Georgia, Sigrid Brettel visited six municipalities in Imereti and Guria to see infrastructure projects with a value of 2.5 million GEL. These are part of the first phase of the Government’s GEL 220 million Pilot Integrated Regional Development Grant Programme, of which GEL 186 million comes from EU funding.
The six visited projects are part of the 11 initial projects financed by the PiRDP, which was launched in June 2020. They include:
Rehabilitation of the road and pedestrian bridge to stimulate local business and promote tourism in Labajouri, Vani Municipality, Imereti
Construction of a park in Sachkhere, Sachkhere municipality, Imereti
Development of a tourist and business development service center in the village of Vartsikhe, Baghdati municipality, Imereti
Rehabilitation of a Public Square in Samtredia, Samtredia municipality, Imereti
Construction of 1km or road along the “Tea Route” to develop tourism in the village of Bakhvi, Ozurgeti municipality, Guria
Rehabilitation of 2 road bridges and 100 m long riverbed wall, arrangement of 173 LED lights to develop a recreational area in Chokhatauri, Chokhatauri municipality, Guria.
Press Release of the Delegation of the EU to Georgia
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.
Parliament Speaker: We leave doors open for parties to join
Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze is grateful to the European Council President Charles Michel and special envoy Christian Danielsson for their mediation leadership.
“Even though the opposition was not ready to sign, we’ll guide judicial and electoral reforms by Danielsson’s proposal. We leave doors open for parties to join,” Talakvadze tweeted.
The ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and the opposition could not agree on a solution, Christian Danielsson briefed reporters following the hours-long joint meeting between GD and the opposition on Tuesday.
The opposition failed to provide any evidence on elections fraud. But, we showed evidence that the radical opposition forged the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) results”, Irakli Kobakhidze, the Chairman of the Georgian Dream party, said after a joint meeting mediated by EU mediator Christian Danielsson.
“Today, the international partners presented a document in which there was no record, either directly or indirectly, on any snap elections,” he added.
Kobakhidze stated that the document by Danielsson included GD’s proposal on Nika Melia’s case. “In particular, in case of paying bail, Georgian Dream pledged to ensure application of amnesty bill in the June 20th case. However, the opposition rejected this solution,” he said.
Christian Danielsson, a personal envoy of the European Council President Charles Michel, said after the talks today that none of the parties agreed on a solution.
Besides, EU mediator Christian Danielson published the proposals made to political parties.
Danielsson said he proposed a solution to the parties that puts the country interest first, but none of the political parties could agree to it. EU mediator has already left for Brussels.
Danielsson returned to Tbilisi for the second time on Sunday to help the opposition and the government reaching an agreement. He first arrived in Tbilisi on March 12. After a five-day mediation that ended with no result, he left the country.
Charles Michel announced on March 22 that Christian Danielsson would travel back to Georgia to help the parties to agree.
The Georgian opposition parties that won seats in the Georgian Parliament of the 10th Convocation believe the 2020 parliamentary elections were a fraud. They have been demanding repeat parliamentary elections and the release of the United National Movement Chair, Nika Melia, and the co-founder of the TV channel Mtavari Arkhi Giorgi Rurua.
EU’s Georgia Mediation Fails Again
In the early minutes of March 31, after mediating an eight-hour meeting between the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties, Christian Danielsson, EU Council President Charles Michel’s Personal Envoy to mediate Georgia’s crisis, said he was “sad to report that none of the political parties could agree to this solution in whole.”
Danielsson publicized the document he proposed the parties for agreement. While the Georgian Dream and the opposition leaders traded accusations afterward over the failure to strike the deal, it seems the parties largely agreed on the electoral reform, judicial reform, and parliamentary power-sharing points. They failed, however, as expected, to reach a consensus over the release of alleged political prisoners and the issue of future elections.
The opposition’s key demand for snap elections – fiercely rejected by the GD government – was not reflected in the public document. It referred, however, to the prospect for the release and dropping charges against Nika Melia, top opposition leader, by initiating amnesty for June 2019 unrest participants. This passage did not include the release of Giorgi Rurua, pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV shareholder, whom the opposition also regards as a political prisoner.
Danielsson is now expected to update President Michel about the development in the coming days, while it remains unclear whether the EU mediation efforts will continue.
“This is a solution that requires political courage and responsibility,” stated the EU diplomat. Below are the main takeaways of the text Danielsson put forward, that the parties rejected to fully endorse.
EU mediator Christian Danielsson publishes proposal made yesterday to the Georgian political partiesEU mediator Christian Danielsson publishes proposal made yesterday to the Georgian political parties.Following nine days of talks with political stakeholders, Christian Danielsson, Personal Envoy of European Council President Charles Michel for the EU mediated dialogue in Georgia, made a detailed proposal for a way ahead for Georgia, to the representatives of Georgian political parties. This effort follows the relaunching of the political dialogue by President Michel during his visit to Georgia on 1st March.The proposal is as follows: https://europa.eu/!bx89Br