Within the framework of the PACE, Spain cooperates closely with Georgia-Antonio Gutiérrez Limones
STRASBOURG. Spain supports Georgia and believes that the country should become a member of the European Union definitely, said the member of the Spanish Parliament, the head of the Spanish delegation to the PACE, and the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Spanish Senate Antonio Gutiérrez Limones.
According to him, Spain has close cooperation with Georgia within the framework of the Parliamentary Assembly.
"I think that we can help Georgia from the Council of Europe, including in carrying out rapid reforms. We are in close communication with each other on this matter. I really hope Georgia will go through this way quickly and reach the final goal", added Antonio Gutierrez Limones.
The autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is holding in Strasbourg from 10 to 14 October.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is due to address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe by videoconference on Thursday.
There will also be addresses by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, and the President of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis, as well as the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama.
Thomas Byrne, Ireland’s European Affairs Minister, will present the Communication from the Committee of Ministers in the framework of the Irish Presidency of the Council of Europe. The Organisation’s Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić will hold the usual question time with PACE members.
Prime Minister of Georgia meets Co-Rapporteurs for the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
The key directions of cooperation between Georgia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the agenda of Georgia’s ongoing and implemented democratic reforms were the main topics discussed at today’s meeting between Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Co-Rapporteurs for the Monitoring Committee of PACE.In the meeting held at the Government Administration, special emphasis was placed on the constructive work of the PACE Monitoring Committee’s Co-Rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia. The Head of Government thanked the Parliamentary Assembly’s delegation for productive cooperation.The conversation also touched on the security environment and challenges in the region and worldwide.The topics discussed included the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories. The role of support from the Council of Europe for peaceful conflict resolution was underlined. Irakli Garibashvili thanked PACE for firmly supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.The meeting was attended by Co-Rapporteurs for the PACE Monitoring Committee Claude Kern and Edite Estrela, also by Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia Natalia Voutova, Georgia’s Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili, and Head of the Government Administration Revaz Javelidze.
THE PARLIAMENT HEARD THE ACTIVITY REPORT FOR 2022 OF THE PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATION TO PACE
At the plenary session, MPs heard the Activity Report for 2022 of the Parliamentary Delegation to PACE, introduced by the Head of the Delegation, Irakli Chikovani.
“One of the acute issues for the PACE and for us was the devastation in Ukraine entailed by the Russian aggression and the decision made on the exclusion of Russia from the Coe and the preparation for a new Summit that is scheduled in May 2023 and that shall be dedicated to the planning of the further steps of the organization”, - he stated.
According to him, the Georgian Delegation was one of the main Delegations that approved the exclusion of Russia at the emergency session convened by the CoE. As noted, sundry resolutions have been adopted in 2022 related to the situation in Ukraine, where the Georgian Delegation in full composition, including the Majority and the Opposition MPs, unanimously approved the documents except one resolution providing the record about the third President of Georgia.
“This Resolution was connected neither to Georgia nor the situation in Georgia or the democratic reforms; it was an attempt, which by the way was quite successfully conducted by the EPP members and the rapporteur of the Resolution”, - he noted and added that the Resolution on Georgia initiated by the Monitoring Committee and adopted by the PACE reflects the immense progress achieved by Georgia in the democracy, rule of law and human rights protection directions.
“This progress is clearly underlined and which is unambiguously confirmed by the CoE as a whole, though it also provides the challenges in Georgia being addressed by the Government”, - the reporter ended his speech.
Georgian draft law on de-oligarchisation: Supporting the goal of limiting excessive influence of oligarchs, Venice Commission calls for systemic reforms
Strasbourg, 14.03.2023 – In its interim opinion on the draft law of Georgia on de-oligarchisation published today, the Council of Europe’s body of constitutional experts, the Venice Commission, called on the Georgian authorities to adopt systemic reforms rather than targeting specific individuals, in order to achieve “de-oligarchisation”.
“Oligarchisation” is the result of a combination of non-transparent exercise of political power without a political mandate, influence on parliaments, governments, political parties, judiciary and law enforcement bodies; ownership or influence on the media; decisive, if not monopolistic, influence on a number of areas, such as energy, mining, oil and gas, metallurgy, real estate. Eliminating such excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political and public life is a novel and very complex issue.
The Venice Commission noted that while Ukraine was the first country to adopt specific de-oligarchisation legislation, the commitment to eliminate the excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political and public life was also the object of a specific European Commission recommendation to Georgia and the Republic of Moldova. Georgia has since prepared a draft law which is very closely modelled on Ukrainian Law. Each country, however, presents specificities.
The Venice Commission supported the goal of eliminating or at least limiting the influence of oligarchs in political, economic and public life. It highlighted, however, that the choice of the means to achieve such a legitimate goal is of decisive importance if the system is to be effective while respecting democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights. Any such measures should be commensurate to the goal pursued of achieving a level playing field for all actors in society.
The Commission stressed that de-oligarchisation should be ensured through a systemic approach, which has a preventative effect and targets numerous fields, such as legislation relating to media, anti-monopoly, political parties, elections, taxation, anti-corruption and anti-money laundering, etc.
The Georgian draft law instead focuses on a so-called “personal” (punitive) approach, seeking to identify so-called “oligarchs” through specific criteria, such as wealth and media ownership, to publicly label them as “oligarchs” and to subject them to series of blanket limitations that include exclusion from the financing of political parties or activities, exclusion from privatisations of public property, etc. This approach, in the opinion of the Venice Commission, carries high risks of human rights violations and arbitrary application, potentially harming political pluralism. At the very least, the Commission recommended transferring the power to designate a person as an “oligarch” to another body than the Government, removing the broad discretion of the Government in interpreting and applying these criteria and providing strong guarantees for human rights, due process and effective remedies.
The Venice Commission has prepared the current opinion as an interim one, with a view of pursuing its analysis of possible solutions to this matter and taking into account further legislative developments when they are available.
MEETING OF SHALVA PAPUASHVILI WITH THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE OF SPAIN
The Speaker, H.E. Shalva Papuashvili held a meeting with the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Senate of the Kingdom of Spain; at the meeting, the Georgia-Spain close cooperation has been positively estimated.
The Speaker expressed his gratitude to Spain for supporting the territorial integrity and European aspirations of Georgia.
“We highly appreciate the assistance and support of Spain in terms of the facilitation of our territorial integrity and the non-recognition policy. The support of Spain is expressed not only in words but in deeds by participating in the EU Monitoring Mission”, - Speaker Papuashvili noted and dwelt on the progress of Georgia in compliance with the EU recommendations hoping that the Parliament will have fulfilled all the recommendations within the spring session.
According to the Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Antonio Gutiérrez Limones, the Spanish Delegation is composed of members of various political groups, though all of them strongly support the EU candidacy for Georgia.
“When Spain assigns the EU presidency in the second half of 2023, it will serve as an additional trigger for granting the EU candidacy to Georgia, which is the will of the President of the Senate of the Kingdom of Spain as well. We recognize Georgia as a part of Europe”, - he stated.
VAKHTANG GOMELAURI HOSTED THE MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR OF THE KINGDOM OF SPAIN
The Minister of the Interior of the Kingdom of Spain - Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gomez, together with the delegation, paid an official visit to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
Within the framework of the visit, the Ministers of Internal Affairs of the two countries held an official meeting.
The parties discussed the importance of tight and effective cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of Georgia and the Kingdom of Spain. During the meeting, the role of police attaches was highlighted in the development of cooperation between the law enforcement bodies, lately conducted joint operations were further positively evaluated.
Vakhtang Gomelauri expressed hope that the issue of signing agreement on mutual recognition of driving licenses between the parties will successfully be completed in the nearest future. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia noted that as a result of the amendments implemented in the national legislation of Georgia, the Georgian driving licenses were harmonized with the EU standards.
During the meeting, the Ministers of Internal Affairs of the two countries signed a protocol between Georgia and the Kingdom of Spain on the implementation of the "Agreement between the European Union and Georgia on the readmission of persons residing without authorization”. The mentioned agreement will contribute to strengthening cooperation between Georgia and Spain in the field of fighting against illegal migration effectively.
At the end of the meeting, the Minister of the Interior of the Kingdom of Spain thanked Georgian colleague for the hospitality and expressed readiness to continue active collaboration with the Georgian side on priority issues for the law enforcement agencies of the two countries.