State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze and European Commission Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn signed a Financing Agreement launching the 2016 Technical Cooperation Facility.
Through this programme, which will run until 2024, the European Union will allocate GEL 83 million (EUR 32 million) to Georgian public institutions to help them comply with commitments set out in the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and Visa Liberalisation and Readmission Agreement as well as support participation of Georgian beneficiary institutions in select EU Programmes.
The programme will provide support to the Georgian government in the fields of:
- General assistance and training for Government institutions related to Association Agreement/DCFTA implementation;
- Energy: regulation of the gas market in accordance with the Third EU Energy Package;
- Trade Facilitation: support to the implementation of the EU Convention on the Simplification of Formalities in Trade in Goods, the EU Convention on Common Transit Procedure (including integration into the EU New Computerized Transit System platform), and review of the national legislative framework in line with the EU 'acquis';
- Adopting EU standards in the areas of intellectual property rights, banking services, and public procurement;
- Migration: improvements to safety of travel documents, migration management at local level, advice on adopting a human rights centred approach in migration and border management, and risk analysis (pre/on/after entry);
- Participation of Georgia in the EU’s Horizon 2020 (research and innovation) and Creative Europe (culture and creative sector) programmes.
As part of his state visit to Brussels, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili held a meeting with Manfred Weber, the Chair of the European People's Party Group. The parties discussed the core issues of EU-Georgia relations. The discussion involved visa liberalization, ways to implement the Association Agreement, and Georgia's ongoing reforms.
At the meeting, special emphasis was placed on the importance of more intense dialogue with the European Parliament and its active contribution to Georgia's association process with the EU. The Prime Minister thanked the European Parliament for its unwavering support of Georgia in the visa liberalization process.
According to the Chair of the European People's Party Group, Georgia remains committed to continuing its political association and economic integration with the European Union. He expressed hope that Georgian citizens will be granted short-term visa-free stay in the near future.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili introduced Manfred Weber to the four-point agenda for Georgia's rapid development, which involves economic reform, creation of a system of professional education, ushering in spatial planning, and governance reform.
Special attention at the meeting was paid to the security issues in the region and the situation in Georgia's occupied territories.
The meeting, which was held at the European Parliament, was attended by Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze and State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Victor Dolidze.
The members of the Parliament of Georgia late on Saturday night issued a resounding vote of confidence in the new government, following a full day of hearings with the Prime Minister-designate Giorgi Kvirikashvili and his proposed cabinet. The new government, which retains 13 ministers and brings in five new faces following the elections which returned the ruling Georgian Dream with a strengthened mandate, presented its programme for the coming term. President Margvelashvili confirmed the appointment of PM Kvirikashvili with a decree this morning. The Prime Minister has two days to appoint the ministers.
The ministerial changes and four-year governmental plan were approved by 110 votes in favour, 19 against and 21 abstentions.
Prime Minister Kvirikashvili thanked his team, the MPs and the people of Georgia for the smooth but intensive process of the elections and government confirmation. Following the vote he made a call for unity, saying: "We are given today a historic opportunity to make over the coming years an enormous contribution to the future positive development of our country. I urge you all to put anything personal aside and focus on the tremendous effort ahead of us."
The new government brings together a team of experienced and well-qualified ministers. In an effort to ensure stability, 13 ministers serving in the previous government will continue in their functions, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Defense Levan Izoria and Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani.
Among the new names, Victor Dolidze will serve as State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The Prime Minister praised the incoming State Minister as "an experienced and good diplomat" and "constructive partner" for Georgia's European path - Dolidze has extensive experience in EU and international affairs having served as Permanent Representative to OSCE and Parliament speaker for European affairs. His predecessor David Bakradze has been appointed Ambassador to the US.
Former Minister of Economy Dimitri Kumsishvili will take up the post of Finance Minister, retaining his role as first deputy prime minister, while Georgian Dream party secretary General Kakha Kaladze will be deputy prime minister, returning to the post of Energy Minister he held before a temporary leave to run for elections. The Ministry of Economy will be led by Giorgi Gakharia, the former business ombudsman and Chairman of the Economic Council, while Zurab Alavidze will become Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure. In an effort to streamline policy-making the Diaspora Issues portfolio has been merged with the Foreign Ministry.
The government's action plan for 2016-2020 - "Freedom, Rapid Development and Welfare" - will be based on earlier offered Four Point Reform Agenda, which prioritises new tax benefits, infrastructure plans, governance reforms and an overhaul of the education system. The aim of the government's economic policy will on the one hand develop private sector and on the other hand ensure to help the Georgian people in most need of state support.
The Committees voted confidence to the candidates for Ministry of Foreign Affaris, Mikheil Janelidze and for State Ministry of EU and NATO Integration, Victor Dolidze. The PM candidate introduced the Governmental Program “Freedom, Rapid Development, Welfare” for 2016-2020 and the composition of the Government.
Mikheil Janelidze spoke about main priorities of foreign policy. Enhancement of security and sovereignty, de-occupation and restoration of territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of conflict with Russia, EU and NATO integration, facilitation to economic development, promotion of the positive image of Georgia worldwide and close links with Georgian Diaspora were named as the main priorities. He stated that the only format recognized and developed with participation of international partnership society is Geneva Talks for peaceful resolution of conflict, de-occupation and territorial integrity. “In this direction we managed to regulate the process and to put it in dialogue mode”. “Consolidation of international efforts is one of the main directions on all Geneva Talks rounds in view of provision of security and human rights protection in the occupied regions of Georgia and we actively discuss this issue in international organizations”.
M. Janelidze spoke about non-recognition of independence of the occupied regions. “As a result of our policy, sundry states have recalled recognition in 2013-2014”. He emphasized the decisions made recently to underline relevancy and active consideration of occupation and Georgia-Russia conflict on international agenda. One of the vital priorities of foreign agenda will be mobilization of international efforts to facilitate dignified and safe return of IDPs.
He also spoke about EU and NATO integration and named full-fledged integration to NATO as the priority task of foreign and security policy and pre-condition for enhancement of security and stable development of the country. He touched upon the decisions made at NATO Warsaw Summit in 2016. “The initiatives were adopted at NATO Warsaw Summit in July, 2016 in the priority directions such are: air defense capacity, joint trainings, Black Sea security cooperation, crisis management development and improvement of strategic communication”. Dignified return of IDPs will be further supported.
He also spoke about bilateral and multilateral diplomacy. “The Georgian Government will further continue strategic cooperation with USA as the main ally of Georgia. It also will be important to enhance cooperation with EU member states and orientation to strategic partnership. Within the rational and de-escalation policy, we will further facilitate to trade-economic and cultural contacts with Russia”.
M. Janelidze touched upon enhancement of cooperation with neighboring countries – Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia. He overviewed the future plans and implemented projects. “I, as the Head of the Foreign Ministry, consider institutional reforms as priority to enhance our diplomacy and to provide diplomats with due conditions”.
Mr. Victor Dolidze stated that one of the priority tasks for Georgia is EU and NATO integration. He noted that the political dialogue on EU integration will further continue with EU member states. “We attach particular attention to expectation management to ensure awareness of our citizens about the expectations. They shall well understand why NATO and EU instead of Eurasia. We shall provide them with information. Public awareness always was and will further be one of the most important spheres for cooperation”. The important link will be the Strategic Communication Department at the Ministry. Similar departments are set up in Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries. “So-called media campaign is also important for public awareness, which implies communication with society. Our citizens shall have comprehensive information about NATO and EU integration and benefits for Georgia leading to full-fledged membership of European family. Coordination only is not enough. The State shall make real steps especially in the spheres, such are: economy, tourism, education, healthcare, social protection etc”.
He underlined importance of the Parliament in strategic communication. “Involvement of the Parliament in strategic communication will be important. We can jointly or severally visit the regions, especially the settlements with minorities and highlands to provide the habitants with the information about the benefits of EU and NATO integration”.
After the reports, the Committees held the secret ballot resulting in:
- Foreign Relations Committee – 9 votes against 1;
- Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee – 10 votes unanimously;
- EU Integration Committee – 10 votes against 2
According to the Decree of the President of Georgia, the extraordinary plenary session will be held on Saturday, November 26 at 12h00 following the Faction sittings on November 25.
The Head of Georgia-Austria Friendship Group, Mr. Victor Dolidze held the meeting with the Second President of the National Council of Austrian Parliament, Mr. Karlheinz Kopf.
The Parties discussed bilateral relations, foreign policy priorities of Georgia, regional security issues and migrant problems in Europe. The parties touched upon successful accomplishment of visa liberalization process for Georgia.
As noted, the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs in Brussels will discuss Georgia issues to make the respective positive decision supported by Austria.
The parties spoke about foreign policy, domestic policy, upcoming Parliamentary in Georgia and electoral milieu. Prior to the meeting with V. Dolidze, Mr. Kopf met with the Speaker of the Parliament.
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.
Mr. David Usupashvili held the meeting with Mr. Andrej Kiska. The parties discussed bilateral relations, economic and trade relations, EU and NATO integration of Georgia, current situation in the region, ongoing political processes in Georgia and upcoming Parliamentary Elections.
Mr. Kiska noted that Slovakia supports EU and NATO integration of Georgia. Slovakia is to preside EU on July 1 and will do its best to provide successful accomplishment of visa liberalization for Georgia. Not only Slovakia supports Georgia-EU relations but other Visegradstates as well. He hoped for progress of NATO Warsaw 2016 Summit for Georgia. The Speaker noted that Georgia is glad and grateful to have such friends in Eastern and Central Europe and that one of the main objective of Georgia is to enhance security of the country and intensification of NATO integration process.
The meeting was attended by Zviad Kvachantiradze, Tedo Japaridze, Victor Dolidze, David Darchiashvili and Giorgi Kavtaradze. It is the first official visit of the President of Slovakia in history of independent Georgia.
The Speaker, David Usupashvili met with the Ambassadors accredited to UN. The parties spoke about current situation on occupied territories of Georgia and the state of IDPs.
The Speaker introduced the current political situation in Georgia and Parliamentary activity. The parties discussed ongoing events in the region and touched upon EU and NATO integration of Georgia, visa liberalization, EUAA and DCFTA, as well as Geneva Talks. The Speaker expressed gratitude to the guests for their support of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.
On their turn, Ambassadors noted that they are loyal to this position and will further support Georgia.
“This is the visit of UN Ambassadors which is always important deriving from the fact that they are given opportunity to at the place study the problems. They intend to visit the places settled with 2008 war IDPs, as well as the occupation lines and to meet the respective structures. Our Government strives to increase supporters of the Resolution on IDPs and to reduce the delegations not supporting the Resolution and non-recognition policy and de-occupation policy, the UN Delegations shall be at maximal extent mobilized to protect interests of Georgia. It is natural that such visits are of utmost importance”, - MP, Victor Dolidze stated.
The special resolution about the Association Agreement with Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova will be discussed by the European Parliament's plenary session next week, in Strasbourg. This issue was discussed by the co-presidents of Euronest Heidi Hautala and Viktor Dolidze in Brussels. The meeting was attended by the Head of the GUAM delegation, Zurab Abashidze.
According to the Eu Parliament, different political groups have different views about Georgia's issue in resolution: "But it is important that the decision was positive, can be critical, but balanced. The work is still in progress it need more active work in Strasbourg next week,"-said Heidi Hautala.