The joint sitting of the EU Integration and the Foreign Relations Committees
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 Committee, Sofio 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 Committee, Tamar 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.