Georgia: PACE monitors regret Constitutional Court changes have not been sent to Venice Commission, as promised

Published in Politics
Thursday, 19 May 2016 14:37

The monitoring co-rapporteurs for Georgia of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), have expressed their regret at the hasty adoption in final reading, reportedly undermining the transparency of the process, of amendments to the laws governing the functioning of the Constitutional Court.
They in particular regretted that these amendments were not sent to the Venice Commission – the Council of Europe’s independent group of constitutional law experts – for opinion after they were adopted in second reading in the Committee on Human Rights and Civic Integration of the Georgian Parliament, as was originally indicated to them during their visit in the first week of May 2016.
“We wish to reiterate that a Venice Commission opinion on these amendments, and the prompt implementation of their recommendations, could help ensure the efficient functioning of the Constitutional Court and counteract any possible attempts to unduly politicise these amendments, as well as the court itself, in the run up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections. We therefore urge the authorities to request such an opinion of the Venice Commission without any further delay. If not, we will propose that the Assembly’s Monitoring Committee itself request such an opinion at its forthcoming meeting on 23 May 2016.”

PACE President encourages Ukraine to press ahead with the reform agenda

Published in World
Monday, 16 May 2016 10:15

At the end of his official to Ukraine (12-13 May), Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, welcomed the strong commitment of the Ukrainian authorities, and of the newly appointed Government, to move toward European values and standards.
During his meetings in Kyiv, PACE President ensured that “the Parliamentary Assembly is following closely the situation in Ukraine and fully supports it in face of the challenges is facing, both on the external borders, as well as on the internal reform front.”
“The Assembly firmly supports territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and stands ready to continue assisting Ukrainian authorities in achieving peace and prosperity”, he said. “But in order to reach this goal, Ukraine needs to be strong and prosperous, with stable institutions and democratic structures. The new Government now needs to devote even more energy and political resources to continue the constitutional reform process”.
With all his interlocutors, the President underlined the importance to conduct a courageous fight against corruption, to carry out effective decentralisation, and to complete the reform of the judiciary. “This has to be done for the good of the people of Ukraine, who now need to see concrete results”. “All political forces, belonging to both the majority and the opposition, need to be more united than ever, engage in a constructive dialogue and find a minimum common denominator to allow reforms to go through”. “It is not an easy task, especially in this challenging time for Ukraine, but the Parliamentary Assembly stands ready to support the Verkhovna Rada in these efforts”, he said.
The situation of PACE member Nadiya Savchenko was also raised in his meetings. “I hope to be able to welcome her in Strasbourg soon”, he concluded.
During his official visit, the PACE President met the President of the Republic, Petro Poroshenko, the Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, the Vice-Prime Minister for European Integration, Ms Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavlo Klimkin, and the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Andriy Parubiy. He also met the PACE delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly and exchanged views with representatives of the diplomatic community and of international organisations working in Ukraine, as well as of the civil society.

PACE Monitoring Committee visited Georgia

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 14:21

The co- rapporteurs of PACE Monitoring Committee are meeting in Council of Europe office in Tbilisi. The meeting is holding with the representatives of Georgian Office. The main issue is organizational tasks.
In the framework of the visit, Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE) will meet with the chairman of the Constitutional Court. After that the delegation will hold an audience with the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili. They will also meet the Chairman of CEC and the representatives of Supreme Court.
Boris Silevich and Kerstin Lundgren will hold the meeting in Tbilisi in next 3 years. They will meet the representatives of Georgian Government and the opposition. 

PACE monitors to visit Georgia

Published in Politics
Monday, 02 May 2016 21:41

Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of obligations and commitments by Georgia, will make a fact-finding visit to the country on 3-5 May 2016.

In Tbilisi, the co-rapporteurs are due to meet the President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister and a number of ministers, as well as the heads of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, the Public Defender and the head of the Central Election Commission.

Talks are also scheduled with the Georgian delegation to PACE, representatives of different political parties and factions in the parliament, diplomats and NGOs.

Prime Minister of Georgia made a sign in Golden Book of PACE

Published in Politics
Thursday, 21 April 2016 14:57

The Prime Minister of Georgia made a sign in Golden Book of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Giorgi Kvirikashvili met with the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Pedro Agramunt. They made a joint conference after the meeting.
PACE sessions will continue till 22 of April. Tedo Japaridze, Eka Beselia, Guguli Magradze, Levan Berdzenishvili, Irakli Chikovani, Davit Bakradze, Giorgi Kandelaki and Chiora Taktakishvili have being participating in these meetings from the Georgian side. 

Our fundamental values may not be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism, says Austrian President

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 19:47

Speaking on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Austria’s membership in the Council of Europe, the Austrian President Heinz Fischer underlined the importance of the 47-nation organisation as an irreplaceable platform where new forms of intergovernmental and parliamentary co-operation were and continue to be developed.

Recalling the importance of respecting the values embodied by the Council of Europe, he stressed that these fundamental values may not be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism.

Referring to the migration and refugee crisis, he called for increased cooperation and co-ordination which had to remain high on the European agenda in order to avoid the instrumentalisation of the issue by right-wing organisations, for xenophobic positions or to incite nationalist emotions.

The President announced that he will leave office at the beginning of July. Quoting Willy Brandt, “War is no longer the ultima ratio but rather the ultima irratio“, he concluded by saying that the most important objective he could not achieve during his time in office was to eliminate the madness of war in human society.

The PACE and the International Organizations support Georgia-Manana Kobakhidze

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 16:43

The Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe (PACE) and the International Organizations support Georgia. This is really important for us-this statement was made by the Vice Speaker of Georgian Parliament, Manana Kobakhidze in the interview with Newsday in Strasbourg.
“This is the result of the democratic reforms which have being implementing in Georgia. It is important that the Prime Minister of Georgia will deliver the speech in the Parliamentary Assembly Council of Europe. Giorgi Kvirikashvili will have an opportunity to speak about the reforms ongoing in our country from the Tribune of the PACE", - Manana Kobakhidze said.
According to her, before making the important decision about visa liberalization, the Prime Minister is able to persuade the European Parliament, that Georgia really deserves the positive decision about visa liberalization process.
“Georgia really deserves to be the member of European family” - Manana Kobakhidze said. She also noted that the meeting by the Prime Minister with PACE President Pedo Agramunt, President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Junker and Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland is important and will promote more positive from Georgia. 

Girona in Spain is the winner of the 2016 Europe Prize

Published in World
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 13:41

The 2016 Europe Prize – the highest level of the Prize which is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to the town most active in promoting the European ideal – has been awarded to the town of Girona (Spain).

Girona is very active in its many initiatives which demonstrate its strong commitment to Europe. It seeks to be an educational and solidarity-based city and supports projects to raise awareness among the local population of the causes of economic inequalities and to promote tolerance, dialogue, the values of a culture of peace and respect for human rights. Girona received the Flag of Honour in 1984 and the Plaque of Honour in 2013.

Four other towns, namely Bamberg and Sinzing in Germany, Ivano-Frankivsk in Ukraine and Lublin in Poland, were also shortlisted for the Prize, and their applications commended.

Created by PACE in 1955, the Europe Prize is the highest distinction that can be bestowed on a European town for its actions in the European domain. The prize consists of a trophy, a medal, a diploma and a scholarship to be spent on a study visit to European institutions for young people from the winning town.

Eight Plaques of Honour, eight Flags of Honour and 12 European Diplomas – which also form part of the Europe Prize – were also awarded. Full details here.

Council of Europe standards ‘a guiding light’ for Turkey, pledges Prime Minister

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 12:55

Addressing PACE, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told parliamentarians: “Turkey is an inseparable part of Europe”. He said Turkey saw the Council of Europe as one of its main partners in bringing about future reforms, and declared that the Council’s standards – including those of the European Convention – constituted a “guiding light” for Turkey.

The Prime Minister also spoke about his country’s commitment to hosting refugees fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, pointing out Turkey was now hosting the highest number of refugees of any country in the world: “Our country is open to these people and, more importantly, our hearts are open to these people.”

The recent EU-Turkey deal was reducing the numbers crossing the Mediterranean by sea and could save lives, he pointed out, but a permanent solution would involve tackling the root causes of the conflict.

On terrorism, Mr Davutoglu made an appeal for victims of terror attacks to be treated equally: “We should not discriminate between those who lose their lives to terrorism – our reaction should be the same.” He also urged support for the Council of Europe’s new protocol on “foreign fighters”.

Giorgi Kvirikashvili to meet Thorbjørn Jagland today

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 09:40

In the framework of official visit in Strasbourg the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili will hold the meetings today. According to the press-office of Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili will meet the Secretary General Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland. The joint press conference will be held after the meeting. 
The Prime Minister of Georgia and the Georgian Delegation will attend the ceremony dedicated to the 25thanniversary of independence of Georgia. 

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