Strasbourg, 29.06.2020 - The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Georgia, Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC) and Claude Kern (France, ALDE), have welcomed the adoption today by the Georgian Parliament of the Constitutional amendments to implement the new election system for the 2020 elections that was agreed between the ruling majority and opposition in March this year, with the support of international mediators.
“The Assembly has consistently called for the introduction of a proportional election system in Georgia. That will now be the case as from the 2024 elections. In addition, as a result of the adoption of these Constitutional amendments, the system for the next elections in 2020 will now also be far more proportional than was previously the case, which potentially could allow for a more pluralist and representative parliament. We strongly welcome this,” said the co-rapporteurs.
At the same time, the co-rapporteurs regretted that the political agreement had not resulted in a less tense and polarised political environment. “We call on all sides to seek co-operation over confrontation and to constructively pursue the implementation of the remainder of the 8 March political agreement. In addition, we call on all stakeholders to refrain from any statements and actions that could increase tensions and polarisation or otherwise negatively affect the environment needed for the conduct of genuinely democratic elections.”
“As we have said, the political agreement, and the election system resulting from it, offer a window of opportunity to Georgia. We implore all stakeholders to fully take that opportunity in the best interest of Georgia,” emphasised the co-rapporteurs.
The co-rapporteurs intend to visit the country in November with a view to finalising their report on Georgia, which they will present to the Assembly during its January 2021 part-session.
Georgian Foreign Minister: Situation in occupied territories significantly deteriorated, process of annexation and occupation continuesTuesday, 28 January 2020 14:52
The situation in occupied territories significantly deteriorated, unfortunately, the actual process of annexation and occupation continues, – Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani answered questions of the members of the PACE after delivering a speech at the Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg today.
“Installation of barbed wire fences and artificial barriers is in progress. Even when we speak now, the process is going on. I would like to recall the recent case of kidnapping and illegal detention of the doctor, who was visiting a patient on the occupation line, which was outrageous fact. The only instrument we have is consolidation of the international community, and that we are doing constantly, with your support, through different instruments and frameworks”, – Minister said.
According to the Georgian Foreign Minister, the pressure should be increased on the force exercising control over the occupied territories.
“The issue of access to the occupied territories is another important challenge that we also have to deal with on a daily basis. The recent case that took place in the Akhalgori district of the Tskhinvali region was the violation of the fundamental principles of international law – freedom of movement. We face this challenge in both occupied regions of Georgia – in Abkhazia and in Tskhinvali regions. In Gali district of Abkhazia, ethnic Georgians are forced to abandon Georgian citizenship. They have no access to get an education in their native language, they are denied to get immediate medical treatment, they have no access to their agricultural lands, and this is happening in the twenty-first century, which is unacceptable. This should be discussed very carefully in all international formats. I’ve mentioned that only instrument is a constant raise of that issue and drawing the attention of the international community. We should not turn a blind eye on these illegal activities, otherwise, it will encourage the occupation force, the Russian Federation, to continue all these illegal activities”, – Davit Zalkaliani said.
Adopting its final agenda at the opening of the 2020 Winter Session, the Assembly decided to hold an urgent debate on the theme “International obligations concerning the repatriation of children from war zones”, as well as a current affairs debate on “Recent developments in Libya and in the Middle East: what consequences for Europe?”. The Session opened this morning with the election of Rik Daems (Belgium, ALDE) as the new PACE President.
The Presidents of Georgia and the Republic of Moldova, as well as the Georgian Foreign Minister and President of the Committee of Ministers and the newly-elected Secretary General of the Council of Europe, will address PACE and answer questions.
Debates on the agenda include a complementary joint procedure between the Committee of Ministers and the Assembly in response to a serious violation by a member State of its statutory obligations, the functioning of democratic institutions in Poland, and reported cases of political prisoners in Azerbaijan.
Parliamentarians will also discuss threats to media freedom and journalists’ security, a report on “Democracy hacked? How to respond?” and the protection of freedom of religion in the workplace.
The Assembly will hold two joint debates – one on migrant trafficking and missing refugee and migrant children, and another on organ transplant tourism and trafficking in human tissues and cells.
A report on minimum standards for electoral systems and a report on the observation of elections in Belarus are also on the agenda.
Avtandil Otinashvili, Strasbourg
Strasbourg, 22.01.2020 – Today the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the new Youth sector strategy 2030 which will provide policy guidance to the 50 States Parties to the European Cultural Convention for the ten years to come.
Young people’s creativity, dynamism, social commitment and competences are crucial for any sustainable democratic society. For almost fifty years, the Council of Europe youth sector has been supporting generations of young people and their organisations to become actors of social change and assists public authorities to implement participative youth policies.
The new Youth sector strategy 2030 will give a new impetus to this work in four thematic priorities:
- Youth revitalising pluralistic democracy,
- Young people’s access to rights,
- Living together in peaceful and inclusive societies and
- Youth Work.
The Committee of Ministers, when adopting the new strategy, stressed the importance of the unique geographical scope and role of the Council of Europe youth sector and its instruments, including the co-management system, the European Youth Centres in Strasbourg and Budapest, the European Youth Foundation, and the partnership with the European Commission in the field of youth.
The Youth sector strategy 2030 is being launched in the framework of the Georgian Presidency of the Committee of Ministers (November 2019 – May 2020) which attaches the highest importance to the full and meaningful participation of young people in European societies, and aims notably at “strengthening democracy through education, culture and youth engagement”.
"The dispute has ended with the victory of the state,"- Tea Tsulukiani, the Justice Minister of Georgia made a statement a few minutes ago.
According to her, only part of the Strasbourg decision on Rustavi 2"s case is not subject to appeal - the cancellation of the suspension mechanism.
"The state has won the dispute with a full victory. The Chamber composed of seven judges decided unanimously that it is no longer appropriate to maintain the application of the suspension mechanism and it is removed. They found inadmissible all complaints of "Rustavi 2" . They found inadmissible the complaint on property rights of brothers Kharamanishvili and " TV Sakartvelo". They unanimously ruled that the right of the brothers Karmanishvili and TV " Georgia" regarding the fair court, which is linked to Nino Gvenetadze was not violated. There is no need to discuss the complaint in this case, "Tea Tsulukiani said.
The star of Zurab Zhvania, former Prime Minister of Georgia has been opened outside the building of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg. Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, being with a working visit in Strasbourg, unveiled the star.
The star of Zhvania has the politician’s one of the most popular phrases on it that the late PM said during the PACE sitting 20 years ago.
“I’m Georgian, and therefore I am European.” These are the words of late Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania while speaking in front of the Council of Europe in 1999. During the speech, he expressed Georgia’s EU aspirations and outlined the country’s foreign policy agenda for the next decade.
Family members of the late Prime Minister attended the star’s opening.
Adopting its final agenda at the opening of the 2019 Spring Session, the Assembly decided to hold an urgent debate on the theme “Role and mission of the Parliamentary Assembly: main challenges for the future”. The Assembly holds its session in PACE from 8 to 12 April 2019, with addresses by the Prime Ministers of Armenia and Georgia.
Joint debates will be held on stopping hate speech and acts of hatred in sport - as well as the role of political leaders in combating hate speech - and on strengthening co-operation with the UN and implementation of its Sustainable Development Goals.
Other topics to be discussed include promoting parliaments free of sexism and sexual harassment, the implications for human rights of social media, and a report on balancing the rights of parents, donors and children during the anonymous donation of sperm and oocytes.
The Assembly will also look at so-called “laundromats” and new challenges in combating organised crime and money laundering, and will take a stand on the creation of a new EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights will present her annual activity report for 2018 and take questions, while there will be the usual exchange of views with the current head of the Council of Europe’s ministerial body, Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Timo Soini, and question time with Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
GEORGIA - Revision of the Constitution - Statement by the Venice Commission President Gianni BUQUICCHIOSaturday, 02 September 2017 11:58
Strasbourg, Council of Europe – The revision of the Constitution of Georgia is a major reform meant to transform the current political system into a genuine parliamentary democracy.
In June this year, the Venice Commission issued a positive assessment of the draft revised Constitution, including the declared move towards the fully proportional system of the election of all the members of Parliament. Moreover, we specifically welcomed active co-operation and the commitment of the Georgian parliament not to adopt any amendments negatively assessed by the Venice Commission.
Therefore, the postponement of the introduction of the proportional system to 2024, as well as the repeated failure of the Georgian parties to reach consensus on the revised Constitution through negotiations is disappointing.
The meeting on 6 September 2017 in Strasbourg has been cancelled. I would like to stress that it is essentially up to the Georgian parties themselves to conduct further negotiations and the involvement of the Venice Commission is not required for this process. We encourage all the parties to come to a large consensus on the text through constructive dialogue.
We expect to receive shortly the revised draft of the Constitution from the Georgian authorities and will issue an opinion on it in one month, at the October plenary session (6-7 October in Venice). We encourage the Georgian parliament, before finally adopting the revised draft, to make changes in the light of this opinion and of the dialogue with all Georgian political parties.
The Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sofio Katsarava visits Strasbourg to in capacity of the member of the Parliamentary Delegation attend PACE Spring Session.
Simultaneously, she holds the meetings with the Parliamentary Delegations of PACE member states. She has already met with the Delegations of Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium and Lithuania.
At the meetings, she spoke about democratic reforms in Georgia, transmission of the country from monitoring to post-monitoring stage and foreign political course of Georgia. The Parliamentary Delegations confirmed support to foreign policy and democratic reforms of Georgia.
“Within the spring sessions, we are very active. Other than participation in the Session and Committee sittings, which are busy, intensive and interesting, we hold bilateral meetings with other countries. We have already met with the Delegations of Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium and Lithuania, considered and introduced democratic reforming in Georgia. They confirmed support to our democratic reforms. We also spoke about foreign policy and post-visa liberalization period and our tasks. They support our foreign policy and democratic reforms”.
According to her, the meetings are scheduled with the Delegations of Great Britain, Portugal and Austria.
European Parliament hosts the EU-Georgia PAC 4th session, presided by the Co-Chairs, Ms. Tamar Khulordava and Mr. Sajjad Karim, giving the positive estimation to EU-Georgia cooperation and hailed the recent historical decision of EP on visa regime simplification. They noted the role of the PAC in EU integration. In her welcome speech, Ms. Khulordava thanked her European colleagues for support of visa liberalization for Georgia on February 2, 2017 in EP.
“It was the most important event in our latest history. We value your decision which we expected for so long”. Political association and economic integration with EU is crucial for Georgia, which can be achieved through full implementation of EUAA. “We, as the members of the PAC, see the important role of Georgian Parliament in this process in terms of facilitation to institutional reforms in order to be assured that we promptly and effectively implement EUAA obligations in various directions: legislative harmonization and Parliamentary oversight, as well as through wide public support to EU integration”.
She emphasized the Resolution adopted by the Parliament on Foreign Policy, underlining significance of EU aspiration of Georgia. “The Resolution was supported by the political parties in the Parliament. It is extremely valuable for us because it evidences that EU integration is not the choice of one or two political parties but of the Georgian society”.
On January 23-27, the Parliamentary Delegation will participate in the PACE sessions and Committee activity in Strasbourg. The Delegation will also hold the meetings with the political groups. The Parliamentary Delegation to PACE is headed by the First Deputy Chairperson, Tamar Chugoshvili.
The Delegation is composed of: Sofio Katsarava, Dimitri Tskitishvili, Nino Goguadze, Irina Pruidze, Zviad Kvachantiradze, Eka Beselia, Giorgi Kandelaki and Gela Mikadze.
Georgian MPs will hold the meeting with the CoE Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland, the Parliamentary Assembly Secretary General, Wojciech Sawicki and the PACE President, Pedro Agramunt, as well as the Delegations of the CoE member states.