“Agreement on visa suspension mechanism big success for @EPPGroup. Visa-free travel for Georgia & Ukraine now possible. Europe is delivering,”-this statement was made by the German politician and Member of the European Parliament for Bavariawith the Christian Social Union in Bavaria, part of the European People's Party.
According to Manfred Weber, visa free regime will be possible for Ukrainians and Georgians after the visa suspension mechanism success.
The U.K.’s referendum to leave the European Union sent political shockwaves across Europe and has cast a shadow of uncertainty on the future of the European project. But the Continent’s lack of strategic vision could have especially dangerous consequences for those still seeking to join its ranks — and for Georgia especially.
Georgia — located in the South Caucasus, population 3.8 million — has sought to join NATO for more than a decade. It needs an assurance from Alliance leaders meeting in Warsaw this week that instability at Europe’s core will not lead to instability on Europe’s periphery.
Georgia has made little progress on its NATO membership aspirations since the Alliance’s promises in 2008, despite meeting its obligations. Adding to Georgia’s frustration, the European Union announced in June its decision to delay visa liberalization for Georgia.
Disappointment and frustration have offered fertile ground for the unlikely rise of pro-Russian forces in Georgia, with parliamentary elections scheduled for October 8. EU and NATO failure to integrate Georgia more deeply has disillusioned many Georgians of their country’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Western institutions are letting down the most pro-Western and pro-American country of the former Soviet Union.
It is a mistake to assume that Georgians have no other options but to stay on a Western-oriented path. Simple geography dictates that Russia and Georgia will always be neighbors. Good relations between Tbilisi and Moscow are still desirable. The threat from Russia, exemplified most graphically in its invasion of Georgia in 2008, has not receded. And yet some Georgians are starting to conclude that, in the face of Western ambivalence, they should accommodate Russian demands to avoid another clash with Moscow.
Georgia’s frustrations are shared by Ukraine. The 2014 Ukrainian revolution was a rejection of then-president Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to improve ties with Moscow instead of Europe. Like Georgia, Ukraine eventually signed free trade and association agreements with the EU, but is still waiting on the granting of visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens to demonstrate that their sacrifices were not in vain.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, support among Ukrainians for joining NATO has exceeded 50 percent for the first time. In Georgia, an overwhelming majority has long been in favor of Alliance membership. Georgia has been the third largest contributor to NATO operations in Afghanistan and has lent forces to other international missions. In fact, Georgia contributes more to international operations than most existing members of NATO. Georgia’s military has modernized and undertaken the necessary defense reforms NATO requires, including civilian control of the military.
“I voted for cooperation and security in Europe and in the world”, - the Speaker stated after voting for the OSCE PA President. According to Mr. Usupashvili, the OSCE principles and priorities shall be the guidelines upon voting for OSCE PA President.
“Naturally, every country has its internal national political context but in international organizations Georgia will become the respected actor and the participant when we learn to think of the world, Europe and global issues upon decision-making”.
As he elucidated, it is important to adhere to the established rules and principles in the international organizations and despite that the Assembly is held in Tbilisi, OSCE practice applies here.
The Speaker noted that he had intensive consultations with the Liberal-Democratic Group regarding the candidates for Presidency. “I took part in the conversations held under the aegis of the Liberal-Democratic Group Faction and we jointly agreed that it is better to elect Ms. Christine Muttonen as the Head of the OSCE PA for the next year, currently the Vice-President and it will be beneficial for OSCE and for Georgia. At that, I would like to underline that if other candidate wins, for instance Mr. Gigi Tsereteli, I hope that his internal political contradictions will not facilitate to expression of his attitude with the phrases damaging Georgia, which will not be beneficial for our future relations with OSCE and I hope that there will be no comments accusing the representatives of all 56 countries for any wrongful actions. So, I wish success to Ms. Muttonen and if other candidate wins, we will continue cooperation with OSCE PA in ordinary civilized form”.
As the member of Free Democrats Victor Dolidze said, the result of UK Referendum is not good for European Economics, European Security and Great Britain. According to him, the day have begin with bad news in the international media and society.
“If you have read the comments made by the world leaders and experts, they say that a lot of disasters may be caused by the result of the referendum. But this is the choice of Britain people and this is free choice. We should respect it,”-Victor Dolidze said.
“Regard to Human rights, I have to pretend that we can compete with the developed countries of Europe one of the exception,”-this statement was made by the ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili at the meeting with the journalists today. According to him this exception is employment opportunities in our country.
One of the main human rights is the opportunity of employment and ability to maintain his family. This depends on economics and a lot of things should be made. I don’t have an illusion of democratic institutions that everything have been completed. All of the good things were made in the short time but a lot of thing we have to do,”-Bidzina Ivanishvili said.
After almost two years at the head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the President, Anne Brasseur, has given a mixed assessment of progress in human rights throughout Europe in her opening address at the autumn session in Strasbourg.
Among the positive developments, she mentioned the great mobilisation against violent extremism and terrorism following the Charlie Hebdo attack, in particular, including the launch of the No Hate Parliamentary Alliance, for which she was particularly honoured to have obtained the Pope’s support, the declaration of a European Day for Victims of Hate Crime and the entry into force of the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.
However, she stressed that “the challenges that our values are facing are enormous,” and made an urgent call for the Assembly to stay united in responding to them.
In this context, she regretted the fact that “in some member states, human rights defenders and civil society activists face a whole range of problems. Restrictive laws, complex and inappropriate administrative procedures, pressure, intimidation and reprisals… all too often, human rights defenders and NGOs are forced to operate in extremely difficult conditions, or even illegally and in secret. This is unacceptable in a democratic society and in Council of Europe member states.”
Pointing out that last-year’s winner of the Vaclav Havel Prize, Mr Anar Mammadli, is still in detention in Azerbaijan, the PACE President said that “over the past two years, the human rights situation in Azerbaijan has deteriorated significantly. The people targeted, the type of charges, the length of the sentences and the blatant irregularities in the conduct of the trials all cast doubt on the authorities’ willingness to respect the fundamental values of the Council of Europe.
“The recent convictions of Leyla Yunus, Arif Yunus and Khadija Ismailova are deeply troubling. It is high time Azerbaijan changed its attitude to human rights and engaged in a root-and-branch effort to tackle systemic problems in terms of the functioning of the justice system and respect for media freedom and freedom of association and assembly,” she added.
“With Azerbaijan due to hold parliamentary elections in just over one month’s time, this is all the more important”, she said and confirmed the decision of the PACE Bureau to send an election observation delegation to Baku on 1 November 2015. Speaking purely for herself, she nevertheless said that unless the long- and short-term ODIHR observers were present, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for the ad hoc committee to make a thorough and comprehensive assessment as to whether the election was consistent with Council of Europe standards and with Azerbaijan’s commitments to the organisation.