The joint sitting of the EU Integration and the Foreign Relations Committees

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 27 December 2016 10:30

The MPs heard the reports by the Foreign Minister, Mikheil Janelidze and the State Minister on EU and NATO Integration, Victor Dolidze. The meeting serves the maximal openness and cooperation between the Parliament and the Government.
“I hail enactment of the Parliamentary role and coordinated cooperation with the Ministries. It is the process to be further enhanced. Last month was important in terms of the visits by the Foreign Minister and State Minister on EU Integration, also in terms of high level visits to Georgia”, - the Chair of the Foreign Relations CommitteeSofio Katsarava stated.
The Ministers reported concerning visa liberalization and ongoing international activity, as well as activity for November-December, 2016. The joint meeting was chaired by the Chairs, Sofio Katsarava and Tamar Khulordava.
According to M. Janelidze, after vote of confidence, the Government served the first visit to Brussels, EU structures and NATO. “It was a confirmation of intact course of the Government on EU and NATO integration. We held the meetings with the leaders and the parties further triggering visa liberalization and eliminating impediments. The decision was made on so-called suspension mechanism.  EP-CoE has achieved informal political agreement formally endorsed by EU Council. The EP will further finalize the process”.
EU LIBE Committee will consider the issue in January. “EU Parliament holds the Presidential elections in January. We believe that EP will at the nearest session vote for the issue to serve the pre-condition for translation and technical procedures followed with enactment of the decision”. Georgian Government does not expect any suspensions. “We obtained support with the reforms implemented and trust towards Georgia, also with the progress recognized by all partners. So, I believe the process will soon be accomplished”.
Next year will be active in terms of NATO-Georgia relations. The PM of Georgia met with the NATO Secretary General to consider cooperation details and the progress of Georgia in terms of NATO decision implementation. NATO-Georgia Commission schedule the session to hear the annual action plan by the State Minister on EU and NATO Integration. He emphasized NATO Defense Ministerial in February with active participation of Georgia. “We have appealed for participation of Defense Minister in NATO-Georgia Commission sitting. NATO Military Committee schedules the visit in March to estimate defense reforms”.
NATO Secretary General gave the positive estimation to reforming in Defense Ministry. M. Janelidze spoke about meeting on strategic communication in March and 2017-2018 NATO Summits, as well as Black Sea security dialogue. He spoke about Georgia-USA relations and stated that Georgia-USA strategic partnership has been enhanced during the last 25 years and it shall gain new results within the new Administration. “US-Georgia cooperation will be the priority for all Governmental agencies, especially after the new Administration. In this regards, I hail the Parliamentary activity. we have contacts with Presidential administration and political groups to keep Georgia urgent on US foreign policy agenda. Our strategic partnership has been enhanced during the last 25 years and we expect better results within the new Administration”.
M. Janelidze spoke about progress of the Government in terms of political, sector and trade integration and emphasized EU-Georgia relation directions, such are: security and defense, anti-terrorist activity, international mission involvement, cyber security, economic-sector cooperation.
The Chair of EU Integration CommitteeTamar Khulordava asked V. Dolidze to re-elucidate the procedures on finalization of visa liberalization. She asked about the plans of the Government on public awareness. She emphasized visit of EP Delegation to Georgia and the Article 49 of the joint statement providing far-going plans of Georgia on EU Integration – ultimate goal is EU membership.
According to Victor Dolidze, membership to NATO and EU is the primary and ultimate goal of the Government. “NATO and EU membership is the primary and ultimate goal of foreign and security policy of the Government. We are in under EUAA and economic integration process. In terms of approximation with NATO and inter-operability and defense capacity, we make huge steps evidenced with the decisions made at the last two summits by NATO. It is the process requiring significant steps and correct planning”. 
The Government will soon endorse the “Information and Communication Action Plan on EU-Georgia Visa Liberalization Issues”, comprehensively providing the remedies concerning informational campaign on VL covering as the Capital, so the regions. “The Government representatives will visit the regions to elucidate about correct behavior not to prevent the process. The society shall be informed via TV and advertisements, as well as radio, social networks, websites and newspapers”. Involvement of executive and legislative bodies, as well as civil sector is important.
The Ministers answered the questions and expressed commitment for intensification of the meetings.

In the end, the Chair of Foreign Relations Committee spoke about necessity of enhancement of bilateral relations with strategic partners and enactment of relations between Parliamentary Friendship Groups.

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    The 6th annual meeting of the Foreign Relations Committees of the Georgian, Turkish, and Azerbaijani Parliaments was held as part of the official visit of the Georgian parliamentary delegation to Turkey. This is reported by the administration of the Parliament of Georgia.

    At the meeting, Nikoloz Samkharadze, the Head of Delegation, addressed the members of the delegations and discussed the ongoing processes in the region, security problems, and the role of the three countries in the process of resolving existing difficulties.

    In this regard, he focused on the situation in Georgia's occupied territories, Russia's destructive actions, the security of the Black Sea, and the significance of Georgia's NATO membership as the sole means to promote regional security and stability.

    Trade, energy and infrastructure projects, culture, defense, security, the environment, and people-to-people relations were among the topics discussed at the sitting.

    The necessity of inter-legislative collaboration and the possibilities for strengthening parliamentary ties were emphasized.

    The parties also addressed the creation of new mechanisms and formats in this context.

    The parties reaffirmed their unequivocal support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and pledged to take additional actions to enhance peace, stability, and security in the Black Sea and South Caucasus regions.

    "We had a crucial discussion today with our strategic partners, the Turkish and Azerbaijani delegations, where we discussed all of the problems and processes that are taking place in our region. In this context, parliamentary cooperation is important because it allows us to routinely share ideas at the legislative level and figure out concrete measures to contribute to the advancement of our nations and the well-being of our people”, - Nikoloz Samkharadze stated.

  • Georgia: four arts festivals receive European Festival quality mark

    Four arts festivals from Georgia have received the Europe for Festivals Festivals for Europe (EFFE) 2017-2018 quality mark, a label which warrants their international recognition. The ceremony to award the EFFE Label 2017-2018 was hosted by the NATO and EU Info Centre in Tbilisi on 27 June. The four Georgian festivals are: NIKOZI – an International Animation Film Festival, GIFT – an International Arts Festival in honour of Mikhail Tumanishvili, Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre and Batumi Music Fest. All have received official certificates as exceptional European festivals, said the EU Delegation to Georgia. At the ceremony, the participants, who also included representatives of Georgian government, discussed the idea of establishing a Georgian Festivals Association as a partner organisation to the European Festivals Association.

    Four arts festivals from Georgia received the quality mark, a label, which warrants their international recognition. This, in itself, is yet another success on the path towards EU integration.

    The winning festivals from Georgia were the following:

    1. International Animation Film Festival – NIKOZI
    2. GIFT – an International Arts Festival in honour of Mikhail Tumanishvili
    3. Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre
    4. Batumi Music Fest

    The idea of establishing Georgian Festivals Association, as a partner organization to the European Festivals Association, was considered during the presentation. The future prospects of the label were also discussed. An announcement was made regarding the award ceremony scheduled to take place on the 18th of September, in Brussels, where 10 winning festivals of Europe will be identified.

    The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia; Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara; the Ministry of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration and the National Tourism Administration.

    The meeting was also attended by the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia - Kaido Sirel, Deputy Head of Cooperation section.

    NATO & EU Info Centre is a partner of EFA Georgia.

    The press conference was held by the head of EFFE Georgian HUB of the European Festivals Association and Programme Coordinator – Anuki Kvinikadze.


  • The Plenary Session of the Parliament

    After endorsement of the agenda, the floor was given to MPs for statementsThe Majority MP and the Chair of the EU Integration CommitteeTamar Khulordava made the statement on visa free travel for Georgian citizens to EU and Schengen zone and spoke about Georgia gaining its place back in the European family. “Once again, I’d like to congratulate our citizens with recognition of our country and with going back to our European family we aspire to”.
    Despite of the challenges the EU states encounter, the hereof decision was made with the highest political support. She expressed support to Ukraine in visa liberalization and hoped for the positive decision on visa free travel for Ukrainian citizens made by EPThe Deputy Chair of the Faction “National Movement”, Salome Samadashvili spoke about the IRI-published surveys and confidence of the population to the state institutions.
    The Majority MP and the Deputy Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Dimitri Tskitishvili spoke about gender equality and stated that the draft resolution on ratification of the CoE Convention (Istanbul Convention) on Prevention and Elimination of Violence against women and Domestic Violence considered by the Parliament is important.
    As he noted, Georgia will be the first country in the region ratifying and implementing the document. The Faction “Patriots of Georgia” MP, Ada Marshania spoke about the problems of affected with mortgage and called on the Government to set up the Ad Hoc Commission.
    MPs made the statements on economic policy, construction of new railway station in Kutaisi, achievements in vocational education and relevant issues ongoing in the country.

  • The sitting of the EU Integration Committee

    The Committee considered the Regional Convention on Pan-Euro-Mediterranean Preventive Origin Rules, introduced by the Deputy-Finance Minister, Giorgi TabuashviliEnactment of DCFTA allowed Georgia accessing to the Regional Convention, envisaging definition of the country of origin of goods according to the diagonal cumulation. Georgia is allowed enjoying diagonal cumulation with Turkey. After simplified processing, Georgian exporters have the opportunity to enjoy the preferential usage of introduction of production to EU market.
    In view of usage of diagonal cumulation with Turkey, Georgia needs free trade regime between Georgia, EU and Turkey with identical origin rules in each party. Enactment of diagonal cumulation between Georgia, EU and Turkey grants additional possibility to Georgia to increase local manufacture through Turkish raw material, to attract export-oriented foreign investments and improve export index with EU.
    “Currently, 23 countries have accessed the Convention. Georgia will have the opportunity to produce with Turkish and Moldovan raw material and export to EU and enjoy same preferences as granted to Georgia by EU”, - G. Tabuashvili stated.
    “It is the continuation of the processes we have recently launched. We have already reflected the respective changes to the Protocol II to the Free Trade Agreement with Turkey. Accession to Convention will allow us using diagonal cumulation with EU and Turkey and use Turkish raw material for local production to be exported to EU markets as originated in Georgia”, - the Chair, Tamar Khulordava stated. The Committee supported the draft.

  • Tamar Khulordava congratulated Georgian citizens with enactment of visa free travel

    On March 28 the EU decision on visa free travel for Georgia enters into forceThe decision on visa free travel to Georgia was made by the European Parliament on February 2. March 28 is a historical day for modern Georgia as it his opportunity becomes real for Georgian citizens. I would like to congratulate our citizens with this significant progress and wish Georgia good luck on EU integration path”, - the Chair of the EU Integration CommitteeTamar Khulordava stated at the briefing
    This decision is a result of the reforms held in Georgia with active participation of all Governmental branches. “It is valuation of the wide-scale legislative and institutional reforms we started in February, 2013 since Georgia was granted VLAP. Georgian citizens were the witnesses of the entire process. We expected the day when we would be able to state that since now on Georgian citizens with biometric passports are entitled to travel visa free to EU”.
    This day and this decision are historical not only because travel to Europe will be technically simplified but because this day is the symbol that Georgia regains its appurtenant historical place in European family amongst the countries to which Georgia always belonged according to the value system, approaches and ambitionShe also spoke about active campaign on visa liberalization for public awareness. “We shall take due responsibility to realization of this right. I am glad to see the active campaign by Georgian Government to inform Georgian citizens about visa free travel to Europe and Schengen. All the citizens shall realize the responsibility imposed on us as we all saw the vast time realization of this opportunity took. It is no reality and it is the matter of our dignity how we will realize it”.
    She called on Georgian citizens to have high responsibility and adhere to the regulations established in EU. “Once again, let me congratulate you with this progress and I wish it not to be the last step of our progress to European family. We have higher ambitions and we are aspired to make our European wishes come true. Europe is our common future and we shall stand united on this path”.

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