PACE President makes working visit to Georgia

Published in Politics
Saturday, 24 July 2021 10:32

Strasbourg, 23.07.2021 – Rik Daems, the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), is to make a working visit to Georgia on 27 and 28 July 2021.

In Tbilisi he is due to meet the Speaker of Parliament and Prime Minister, as well as the Foreign, Justice and Internal Affairs Ministers. Meetings are also planned with the chairs of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee and the Permanent Parliamentary Gender Equality Council, and with members of the Georgian parliamentary delegation to PACE.

The Assembly brings together 324 members from the national parliaments of the 47 member states. President: Rik Daems (Belgium, ALDE) - Secretary General of the Assembly: Despina Chatzivassiliou-Tsovilis. Political groups: SOC (Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group); EPP/CD (Group of the European People's Party); EC/DA (European Conservatives Group & Democratic Alliance); ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe); UEL (Group of the Unified European Left).

Georgian delegation to participate in PACE session

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 23 June 2021 10:26

The Summer Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) takes place on June 21-24 in Strasbourg. The Permanent Delegation members of Georgian Parliament Irakli Chikovani and Tamar Taliashvili are participating in the session.

The delegation members will join the debates and hold bilateral meetings with various delegations’ heads and PACE officials.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will mark the 10th anniversary of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (the Istanbul Convention) with an event on this topic at its Summer plenary session, taking place from 21 to 24 June 2021 in a hybrid format, allowing members to participate remotely or attend in person in Strasbourg.

This event, an initiative of PACE President Rik Daems, will include speeches by: Nadia Murad, winner of the 2016 Václav Havel Human Rights Prize and the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize; Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe; Alexander de Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium; Anca Dana Dragu, President of the Romanian Senate; Elisabeth Moreno, French Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities; and Dubravka Šimonovic, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences. Zita Gurmai, PACE General Rapporteur on violence against women, will highlight the way forward to make progress with the signature, ratification and effective implementation of the Istanbul Convention.

The Assembly will also hold current affairs debates on "The situation in Belarus: a threat to the whole of Europe", and “The need for an effective solidarity mechanism between European countries to relieve migratory pressure on front line countries”, with the participation of Panagiotis Mitarachis, Minister of Migration and Asylum of Greece.

In addition, the Assembly will discuss the protection of fundamental rights and the legal implications of Covid passes or certificates; the socio-economic crisis sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic; and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s rights.

The agenda also includes debates on ‘Should politicians be prosecuted for statements made in the exercise of their mandate?’, ‘Transparency and regulation of donations to political parties and electoral campaigns from foreign donors’, and on ‘Enhancing participation of women from under-represented groups in political and public decision-making’.

The parliamentarians will debate media freedom, the situation of the Crimean Tatars, public trust and the people’s right to know, as well as the European policy on diasporas, with the participation of the Director General of the International Organization for Migration António Vitorino. The fight against Afrophobia in Europe is also on the agenda, with the participation of E. Tendayi Achiume, the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

In the framework of the Hungarian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó will address the Assembly and answer questions. Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić will also take part in a question and answer session.

Reports on the recent parliamentary elections in Bulgaria and Albania will be discussed. PACE will also elect a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Croatia.

 

 

 

PACE Georgia monitors welcome political agreement and call on all political forces to put national interest over those of their individual parties

Published in Politics
Thursday, 10 June 2021 12:46

Following a visit to Tbilisi from 1 to 3 June 2021, the co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Georgia, Titus Corlăţean (Romania, SOC) and Claude Kern (France, ALDE), have welcomed the political agreement mediated by European Council President Charles Michel that was signed by most political forces in Georgia.

“This agreement covers several important areas that we have been following closely in the context of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure. If implemented fully, and in good faith, this agreement could signify a considerable step forward in the country’s democratic consolidation. All political parties should therefore join efforts to implement this agreement, and those that have not done so should sign it without delay. Georgia is at a crossroads. We urge all political forces and stakeholders to place the national interest, and the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration project, above the interest and strategies of their parties and personalities,” underlined the two co-rapporteurs.

They emphasised the importance of having an impartial and genuinely independent judiciary that has the full trust of Georgian citizens. While welcoming the considerable progress made with reforming the judiciary, the rapporteurs called on the authorities to ensure that the agreed evaluation of the third and fourth waves of judicial reform is based on a truly inclusive process, with the involvement of all relevant stakeholders including civil society. The co-rapporteurs underlined that this evaluation process is also an important opportunity to implement the remaining unaddressed recommendations of the Venice Commission concerning the judiciary, especially as regards the High Council of Justice, whose functioning and low level of public trust remain an obstacle for a genuinely independent judiciary, and a very serious point of concern.

“In this respect we cannot stress enough the importance of a proper selection process for the soon-to-be-vacant non-judge positions on the High Council of Justice. We urge the Georgian parliament to ensure that these candidates are selected in an inclusive, transparent, consensual and merit-based selection process, and to ensure that these persons have support among the stakeholders and political forces that is as wide as possible. This is essential for their legitimacy and the public trust in this important judicial institution,” said the co-rapporteurs.

With regard to the selection of the Supreme Court Judges, the rapporteurs welcomed that practically all recommendations of the Venice Commission with regard to the selection process have now been adopted by the Georgian parliament. However, they regretted that the selection process begun prior to the adoption of these amendments was maintained and not restarted from the beginning, as recommended. “The onus is now on the High Council of Justice to ensure an inclusive, transparent and merit-based selection process in line with the recommendations of the Venice Commission. The candidates should be selected by a broad consensus and have the full trust of the relevant stakeholders. This is essential for judicial independence. Corporatist self-interest should not be allowed to prevail in this respect,” underscored the co-rapporteurs.

The co-rapporteurs also expressed their concern at the recent controversial amendments to the Law on Administrative Offences. They underscored that this Law is a highly deficient Soviet-era code, whose provisions raise questions about proportionality and respect for due process, and several of which have been declared unconstitutional by Georgia’s Constitutional Court. The rapporteurs therefore reiterated their recommendation that a completely new Law on Administrative Offences be drafted, in close consultation with the Venice Commission to ensure that it fully adheres to the highest international standards and norms. They welcomed the clearly expressed political will of the authorities to draft such a new law and expressed their hope that the new parliament would now start the drafting process without delay.

The co-rapporteurs noted the increased importance and attention given to the forthcoming local elections in Georgia as a result of the Michel Agreement. They urged all political forces to ensure that these elections are conducted in a genuinely democratic manner, in line with both the letter and the spirit of the electoral legislation, as well as international standards for democratic elections. The co-rapporteurs welcomed the overall inclusive and consensual manner in which the amendments to the Electoral Code set out in the Michel Agreement were drafted by the parliamentary working group. They called on all political forces to fully implement all recommendations in the forthcoming Venice Commission opinion on these amendments, and to wait with their adoption until after this opinion has been received. Lastly, they expressed their hope that, despite the heightened national political interest in these elections, their relevance for the strengthening of local government and democracy would not be overlooked.

The rapporteurs expressed their deep concern about the humanitarian and human rights situation in the Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, including from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. They welcomed the efforts of the Georgian authorities to alleviate this situation and deeply regretted that such efforts were hindered by restrictions imposed by the de facto “authorities” on freedom of movement for civilians and representatives of international organisations between these regions and the rest of the country. In the interest of the populations concerned, the co-rapporteurs therefore reiterated their call on the de facto “authorities”, and the Russian Federation as the country exercising effective control, to lift these restrictions without delay.

The co-rapporteurs intend to visit Georgia again following the local elections, with a view to presenting their report on Georgia’s honouring of its Council of Europe obligations and commitments to the Parliamentary Assembly in the spring of 2022.

MEETING OF OPPOSITION MPS WITH MEMBERS OF PACE MONITORING COMMITTEE

Published in Politics
Thursday, 03 June 2021 16:22

Representatives of the parliamentary opposition met with members of the PACE Monitoring Committee. As "News Day Georgia" was told in the parliament administration at the meeting, the MPs informed the guests about the current political situation in the country and dwelt on the ongoing political processes in the Parliament.

Special attention was attached to the issues covered by the Charles Michel Document and the steps to be taken in this direction. The parties put a spotlight on constitutional changes, the current situation in the judiciary, and the need for changes in this direction.

Opposition MPs briefed the members of the Committee on amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses.

The parties touched upon the situation in Ninotsminda and the media environment in the country.

Ana Buchukuri (Party “For Georgia”), Giorgi Vashadze (“Strategy Aghmashenebeli”), Alexander Rakviashvili (“Girchi”) participated in the meeting.

Prime Minister of Georgia Meets PACE Monitoring Committee Members

Published in Politics
Thursday, 03 June 2021 12:51

Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia met the Monitoring Committee Members from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Meeting was focused on the close and productive cooperation between Georgia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and its importance.

Discussion was centered on the current political position and upcoming local elections. It was noted that authorities of Georgia stand ready to ensure the free and fair setting for holding the elections. A number of reputable international observation missions are already invited to the elections.

The Head of Government of Georgia expressed his gratitude to the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the support demonstrated in the process of democratic reforms in Georgia. Challenging situation in the occupied territories of Georgia was discussed at the meeting and the role of the support extended by the Council of Europe in the peaceful resolution of the conflict was highlighted. Prime Minister of Georgia profoundly acknowledged the firm support of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) towards the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within the internationally recognized borders, thereby noting that authorities of Georgia highly regard the Consolidated Report of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe titled as a Conflict in Georgia, as well as supporting resolutions made by the Parliamentary Assembly towards Georgia.

Delegation from the Monitoring Committee of PACE included Titus Corlatean, Co-Rapporteur (Romania, SOC); Claude Kern, Co-Rapporteur (France, ALDE) and Bas Klein, Deputy Head of Secretariat.

Press Service of the Government Administration

THE MEETINGS OF THE PACE MONITORING COMMITTEE IN THE PARLIAMENT

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 02 June 2021 14:18

The first meeting of the Delegation was held with the Speaker, Kakha KutchavaThe current political processes in the country were discussed at the meeting. Emphasis was placed on the importance of enforcing the Charles Michel document, electoral and judicial reform. 

Within the 2-day visit, the PACE members hold the meetings with the Parliamentary Delegation to PACE, Chair of the Legal Issues Committee Anri Okhanashvili, Chair of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee David Songulashvili, Majority Leader Irakli Kobakhidze, Parliamentary opposition and the members of the Faction “Lelo – Partnership for Georgia”.

The PACE Delegation is composed of Titus Corlățean – Romanian “Socialist Democratic Party”, Claude Kern – French “Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe”, and Bas Klein - Deputy Head of the Monitoring Department at PACE.

Maia Sandu: ‘Where there is political will, there is genuine reform’

Published in World
Thursday, 22 April 2021 14:15

“Where there is popular will, there is change. Where there is political will, there is genuine reform,” today said Maia Sandu, President of the Republic of Moldova, addressing the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg.

Referring to the recent Presidential election, she said that “people voted for serious change”, meaning justice, better standards of living, access to quality education, healthcare and better infrastructure, as well as to “put an end to pervasive corruption”. Change means that “Moldovans will trust their state”, President Sandu underlined.

The Moldovan people “want the Presidency to join forces with a new parliament and a new government to clean the country of the vices that are holding it back - and they ask for your support in doing so,” she added. And this time, “Moldovan politicians should not fail the people.”

The drive for reform must continue “to come from the people, no matter what obstacles may block the road. And there are many obstacles. Corrupt forces will fight back, because they stand to lose not only their illicit revenues, but also their freedom.” But people “are determined to fight for change, and count on the support of Moldova’s partners in the Council of Europe,” President Sandu concluded.

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.

Georgian delegation to Participate in PACE Session

Published in Politics
Monday, 19 April 2021 09:54

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.

Angela Merkel to address PACE Spring session

Published in World
Thursday, 15 April 2021 11:09

Strasbourg, 15.04.2021 – 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, allowing members to participate remotely or attend in person in Strasbourg.

The President of the Republic of Moldova, Maia Sandu, the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, 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 on "The functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey".

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 persons dealing 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.

The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the opening day of the session.

Irakli Kobakhidze presiding the PACE Winter Session

Published in Politics
Thursday, 28 January 2021 13:45

The Majority Leader, the PACE Vice-President Irakli Kobakhidze presides the Winter Session with the agenda including the vaccination issue.

The session is attended by the Parliamentary Delegation of Georgia, headed by the Vice-Speaker of the Parliament, Kakha Kutchava.

The Winter Session is held on January 24-29. It is the first visit of the Parliamentary Delegation in the 10th Term.

The Delegation is composed of Irakli Kobakhidze, Mariam Kvrivishvili, Givi Mikanadze, Irakli Chikovani and Tamar Taliashvili.

 

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