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.
The Georgian MPs informed the French senators about the relations between Georgia and the European Union and the current situation in the occupied regions of the country.
The Chair of the EU Integration Committee, Maka Botchorishvili, and the Head of the Permanent Delegation of Georgia to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Irakli Chikovani met with members of the European Affairs Committee in the Senate of the French Republic.
The session was chaired by the Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Senate, Jean-François Rapin.
Maka Botchorishvili dwelt on Georgia's priorities, the dynamics of relations with the European Union, and the role of EU enlargement in terms of ensuring security in the region.
The parties also focused on Georgia-EU relations and the progress achieved in the process of EU integration.
Irakli Chikovani drew attention to the situation in the occupied territories of Georgia.
The parties attached special attention to the security challenges in the region and the importance of the EU integration process.
The Parliamentary Delegation attending the consideration of the Report by the PACE Monitoring CommitteeWednesday, 27 January 2021 11:29
The Parliamentary Delegation participates in the PACE winter sessions with the agenda including the Annual Report providing the outcomes of monitoring in 2020. The report provides the assessments about the progress of the countries subject to the monitoring or participating in the post-monitoring dialogue.
The member of the Delegation, Irakli Chikovani thanked the rapporteurs and members of the Monitoring Committee for their efforts and stated that after accessing the CoE, Georgia has been through a significant transformation.
In 2020, Georgia achieved the culmination of this process and assumed the presidency of the Committee of Ministers.
“I believe that against the pandemic, we left our trace and enriched the CoE agenda. Our priority issues – human rights and environmental protection – were widely supported, including from the presidency candidate states”, - he noted and added that the democracy is not static but envisages higher aspiration to protection and engagement and thus, Georgia in cooperation with its partners, keeps the planning of its European way.
“I would like to attract your attention to the new agenda of the ruling party – “Building the European State” and which is a strategic stage for Georgia to make the application for the EU membership in 2024”.
The ruling party managed to establish the system to ensure the most inclusive and multi-party Parliament in the history of Georgia: “As the report provides, the Constitutional reform followed the acute opposition, though we managed to form the system leading to the most inclusive and multiparty Parliament in history of Georgia. Despite the gaps, the international observation missions concluded that the elections 2020 were competitive and the fundamental freedoms were adhered to, where the political parties were free to hold their campaigns. Some of the refractory opposition parties adhering to the principle “everything or nothing” refused to accept their mandates. At the same time, we understand that we need to keep our way and we are committed to undertaking more reforms and investigate each accusation through the Parliamentary Fact-Finding Commission”.
As he noted, the report underlines the situation on the occupied territories of Georgia: “A couple of days ago, not so far from this place, in European Court of Human Rights, Georgia celebrated one of the greatest victories in its modern history – as the ECHR decided, Russia is legally responsible for the gross violation of the international law and human rights in Russia-Georgia August war 2008 and after the war. We, Georgians, as Europeans believe that the strong principles of the international law will win and human rights will be protected”.
The member of the Delegation, Tamar Taliashvili stated that the report also provides the progress of Georgia in 2020 and concerns the political developments of 2019.
“We fully share the concern expressed in the report entailed with the fact that some radical opposition parties boycott the Parliament while the election returns allowed them to ensure the Parliamentary oversight. As the report provides, the term includes the period when Georgia re-proved that the Georgian democratic institutions are committed to addressing the challenges and the ruling majority is ready to hold the political dialogue, including with the radical opposition. As a result, the “Georgian Dream” has initiated the Constitutional changes leading to a more balanced political system, which facilitated the Parliament to be more diverse and pluralist. As to the Parliamentary Elections 2020, the report underlines its competitiveness and protection of fundamental freedoms, as well as the freedom of the political parties to hold their campaigns”.
According to her, the monitoring report, along with the positive assessments, also provides the recommendations for further progress: “The ruling party made a public statement about its decision to adopt the electoral reform providing the recommendations by the international observation missions. We fully share the concern expressed in the monitoring report entailed with the fact that that some radical opposition parties boycott the Parliament while the election returns allowed them to ensure the Parliamentary oversight. I also would like to take advantage and thank the EU and US Ambassadors for their positive contribution to the political dialogue. Also, let me underline the importance of your statement about the ongoing occupation of two regions of Georgia. The report reflects the condemnation of the gross human rights violations, which was enhanced by the ECHR's recent decision on August war 2008. I also would like to stress the importance of this decision for the victims of the war and our country”.
The member of the Delegation, Givi Mikanadze in his speech noted that for the first time during the last two decades, the newly elected Parliament consists of 14 political parties and such diversity of the political actors is a result of the will of Georgian citizens:
“Unfortunately, the opposition parties do not value the support expressed by their electors and rejecting the mandates, try to sabotage the Parliamentary activity. The report underlines that the Parliamentary Elections 2020 were estimated by the international observation organizations as competitive, where the fundamental freedoms were adhered to and where the parties enjoyed the freedom to hold their campaigns. It is noteworthy that more than 80 000 observers were observing the elections countrywide”.
He dwelt on the simultaneous counting by one of the NGOs, which initially revealed the deviation of 2.4% from the official results made by the CEC.
“The leaders of “Georgian Dream” officially addressed this NGO and called on to disclose information about 850 polling stations where the count was simultaneously held. Initially, NGO refused but in mid-December, they stated that the gap was detected by the internal audit in the formula of counting. After elimination of the gap, their results coincided with the CEC results. This NGO stated that their PVT detected a discrepancy in 8% of the electoral districts. “Georgian Dream” also required to disclose the list of these districts. According to the CEC data, this so-called “imbalance” related to the excessive bulletins, was described only in 19 protocols out of 3657, unlike the statement of NGO. The “Georgian Dream” has not yet received any data from the observation organization”.
He noted that along with the boycott, the radical opposition openly started to express discontent towards the international observations, international politicians and the facilitators, which led to a series of attacks on the EU and US Ambassadors especially.
“The “Georgian Dream” submitted the initiative to set up the Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Commission in the Parliament to investigate the Elections and called on the opposition parties to participate. It is no surprise that the opposition rejected this offer, which confirms their will of marginalization and will to keep their protest in streets instead of the Parliamentary activity. We are oriented to the future and consider the further enhancement of democratic processes in Georgia. “Georgian Dream” is aspired to cooperate with our international partners, including the PACE to focus on the gaps detected during the last Parliamentary Elections”.
The monitoring procedures cover 11 countries (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine) and 3 countries participating in the post-monitoring dialogue (Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia).
On Interagency Coordination Council’s Decision, Georgia Opens Borders Unconditionally to 5 CountriesWednesday, 08 July 2020 13:51
According to the Coordinating Council's decision, Georgia will open its borders without any conditions to 5 countries, - confirmed the advisor of Prime Minister, Irakli Chikovani, after the meeting of the Council.
• As you know, the European Union, on June 30, included Georgia on the list of safe countries and issued a recommendation on the possible reopening of borders to these countries. Based on said recommendation, the Government is holding bilateral negotiations on opening borders with relevant EU member states.
• Notably, based on the epidemiological situation in the world and Europe, some EU member states have, at this point, opted against opening borders to foreign citizens, including from the EU. And a 14-day quarantine at one's own expense is still mandatory upon arrival in a number of countries.
• Georgia is also monitoring the global picture and takes cautious steps to protect the health of its citizens.
• As of today, of the countries who have opened their borders to Georgia without reservation, Georgia, on the decision of the Interagency Coordination Council, will unconditionally open its borders to the following 5 countries:
• As for other countries, in making this decision, the council considered the fact that several countries have opened their borders, among others, to states not listed by the EU as safe countries.
• The citizens/residents of the 5 countries above can only use direct flights to Georgia for any type of visit.
• Before crossing Georgia's border, they must fill a special e-form and list their travel history in the course of previous 14 days, also the location of their stay in Georgia, contact information, and others.
• With their consent, or in case thermal screening on the border reveals a temperature higher than 370, a PCR test will be performed at the airport.
• Also, testing and quarantine will be mandatory for those with a history of traveling to high-risk non-EU member states in the course of previous 14 days.
• All persons arriving in Georgia will, throughout their stay, maintain proactive communication with and receive care from a special call center group.
• As for other EU member states, who have not opened borders to Georgia, the status quo will be maintained by Georgia as well. Besides the 5 countries above, in the case of countries listing Georgia as a safe country or imposing various types of restrictions, their citizens will be able to enter Georgia as long as they complete a 14-day quarantine period at their own expense.
• Besides the 5 countries above, work on relevant procedures continue with the countries that have unconditionally opened their borders to Georgia.
• At this point, the following countries have not opened their borders to Georgia: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Norway, Malta, Finland, Switzerland, Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary. Notably, a joint commission with Hungary has been established to work on the issue of movement reopening.
• Some countries (Italy, Cyprus, Iceland, and Slovenia) are ready to open their borders with certain restrictions, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine period for arrivals.
• Notably, the recommendations and the list of safe countries published by the EU will be reviewed every other week.
• Importantly, to encourage economic activities in Georgia, business trip from all countries will be allowed without reservation, based on a completed special form and coordination with relevant sectoral agencies. Business visitors to Georgia are obligated to complete a PCR test for COVID-19 at their own expense every 72 hours, or complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine, also at their own expense. Of course, that does not apply to the citizens/residents of the 5 countries enjoying unconditional border reopening with Georgia.
• Relevant e-forms mandatory for the citizens of the EU member states listed above, also for business visitors from any country, will be available on the Georgian Government's special website www.StopCoV.ge.
• As for Georgian citizens, they, upon their return from any type of visit to EU member states, will be obligated to complete a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Importantly, our citizens must also consider the approaches to reopening borders as taken by the EU member states listed above.
• In addition, negotiations are underway with international airlines to resume air travel and regular flights with the 5 EU member states who have unconditionally reopened their borders to Georgia. In particular, an agreement has been reached with Lufthansa to carry out 2 flights a week to Munich starting in August. We are also negotiating with Air Baltic and Air France.
• In addition, we emphasize that, to ensure the orderly repatriation of Georgian citizens abroad, Wizz Air and MyWay Airlines will carry out flights from the following destinations in July:
Warsaw on July 13
Barcelona on July 15
Rome on July 17
Paris on July 22
Athens on July 28.
• The flights above will not cost Georgian citizens more than 200 euro.
• In addition, Georgian Airways, formerly Airzena, is carrying out commercial charter flights to the following capitals: Vienna, Amsterdam, and Tel Aviv.
• In addition, Qatar Airways will, in the next few days, carry out a one-off commercial charter flight from the capital city of Doha, to repatriate 105 Georgian citizens.
• Also, the presently applicable regulations will remain enforced on Georgia's land borders.
• The Government of Georgia continues active cooperation with partner EU member states. Based on the relevant recommendation, the rules for entering Georgia and for Georgian citizens entering various EU states will be reviewed jointly once every other week.
• The health and safety of citizens is our top priority, and each decision is made with this priority in mind. We will do everything to ensure maximal protection of the health of our citizens and the country's guests in Georgia.
Free Democrats begins reorganization of all district and city organizations. This statement was made by the press office representative.
According to reports, the decision was made by the head of Free Democrats. As it is known, the Leader of the party Irakli Alasania and some of the members, Davit Onoprishvili, Viktor Dolidze, Zurab Abashidze, Giorgi Tsagareishvili and Irakli Chikovani have left the party.
Several members of Free Democrats left the party today. Viktor Dolidze, Gia Tsagareishvili, Zurab Abashidze, Davit Onoprishvili and Irakli Chikovani made this statement today at a special press conference.
As Irakli Chikovani said, he is thankful to all supporters, including Zugdidians. According to him, new level should begin in Free Democrats. He said that he will serve to his country.
As you know, the leader of the party left Free Democrats two days ago. He left also from politics. Aleksi Petriashvili has made the same decision.
The Foreign Relations Committee unanimously supported the draft resolution on “Imprisonment of the Member of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Nadiya Savchenko”Wednesday, 06 April 2016 15:20
The Committee unanimously supported the draft resolution by the Free Democrats Faction. With the draft resolution, the Parliament of Georgia calls on Russian Government to:
- Without delay free Nadiya Savchenko and other illegally detained Ukrainian citizens or to extradite them to Ukraine;
- Not admit victimization of N. Savchenko and other Ukrainian citizens arrested, creation of threat for their lives and violation of their fundamental rights.
According to the reporter, Irakli Chikovani, Russian Federation shall not be authorized to arrest, detain, accuse or judge the Ukrainian citizen for alleged crime committed on Ukrainian territory.
Recalling the issues under February 12, 2015 Minsk Agreement on exchange of hostages and the persons illegally detained in the context of Eastern Ukraine conflict, “since January, 2015, N. Savchenko enjoys the Parliamentary immunity of the Member of PACE, which has not been annulled by the arrested and that Russian Federation, as the party to the “General Agreement of Council of Europe on Privileges and Immunity” and the optional protocols thereto, shall respect the obligations assumed under the international law”.
As Giorgi Volski stated, it is a well-formulated, noteworthy and strict document with correct indication to the international law norms and the addressees.
“It is the voice of all victims of Russian aggression not only in Georgia but in other countries where Russia has committed similar aggression, also it is the voice of the people subjected to injustice by Russian Federation. The Parliament of Georgia, with the resolution, expresses the voice of these countries and these people”, - Nugzar Tsiklauri stated.
As Tedo Japaridze noted, the Committee has only editorial remarks to the document, shared by the initiator.
International co-operation and intelligence sharing are essential if the activities of organised criminal groups related to migration are to be combated effectively, according to the PACE Migration Committee. Innovative, holistic responses should “target all potentially vulnerable aspects of these group’s business models, including money laundering, corruption of public officials and abuse of the internet”.
Adopting unanimously a report prepared by Irakli Chikovani (Georgia, ALDE), the Committee said that the aim must be to use all possible means to transform migrant smuggling, and the various offences often associated with it, “from low-risk, high-return to high-risk, low-return activities”.
The committee calls on member states to ratify and implement the various UN and Council of Europe conventions against migrant smuggling and money laundering. For its part, the European Union and its member states should fully implement the Action Plan against migrant smuggling.
Governments should also develop and effectively apply a full range of investigative and prosecutorial techniques against migrant smugglers. The competent authorities, the adopted text underlines, should be “entitled to seize, confiscate and forensically examine instrumentalities used in smuggling offences” and make more extensive use of interception of communications, in accordance with the safeguards set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. Jurisdiction for offences occurring in the course of smuggling of migrants onto national territory should be extended, “even when ostensibly committed outside it”.
In the committee’s opinion, efforts to combat migrant smuggling should also address the root causes of forced migration that drive migrants into the hands of migrant smugglers. “Adequate and effective resettlement programmes for refugees and safe and legal channels for migration should also be introduced in order to reduce recourse to migrant smugglers”, the parliamentarians stressed.
David Usupashvili met with Anne Brasseur. The parties spoke about events in Georgia and in the region, Russian occupation of Georgian territory and situation in Ukraine.
The Speaker thanked Mrs. Brasseur for adoption of the supportive resolution for Ukraine and noted that Georgia will always support the resolution. The parties also considered the Constitutional, electoral, judicial and municipal reforms and agreed to enhance relations between Georgia and CoE.
The meeting was attended by T. Japaridze, L. Berdzenishvili, I. Chikovani and T. Bokuchava. After the meeting, the parties made the joint statements.
“This visit is one more expression of enhancement of Georgia-CoE relations. We agreed to work in this direction. Sometimes, when we have the problem with quorum in the Parliament, it is due to the fact that 10-12 MPs are occupied in PACE, striving not only for Georgia but for Europe. This is the platform, where Georgian politicians participate in construction of Europe, solution of European issues”, - the Speaker stated.
PACE is an important European institution, actively facilitating Georgia to hold the democratic reforms and creation of institutional environ. “Let me remind you that in line with CoE recommendations, we have implemented the most important reforms in judicial sphere, municipal sphere, in political system, legislation on political parties, electoral system and many other spheres. Let me also remind you that the Venice Commission, well-known in Georgia, acts under the aegis of this organization and many other instruments, with which CoE supports Georgia”. “For me, as for the PACE President, it is important to visit the countries first of all to have the personal contacts; also to better understand the country, people, politicians and civil society, to meet media. So, I thank you for the interest, expressed in my visit”, - Mrs. Brasseur stated.
The Parliamentary Delegation of Georgia plays an important role at PACE sessions. “You shall be proud of your delegation, which is very active, particularly at Committee sittings, playing an important role. The Georgian delegation, in terms of attendance, is the 4th country amongst 47 countries. I think, it is important for MPs, to have contacts with their counterparts but it is also important to better understand Georgia. It helps us in development of democracy, rule of law and human rights protection. All democratic forces shall stand beside the civil society and religious leaders to fight against hatred and intolerance as it undermines democratic system and is a real threat – it is the message from CoE” – A. Brasseur stated.
Geo-political situation and Ukraine vents touched particularly the region and Georgia. “We shall find the joint solution. Violence can never be the solution, it is hard but we shall proceed. On our turn, by means of the Parliamentary delegation, we shall find the way out. After termination of suffrage to Russian delegation, they decided not to work with us. They still are the members. We want to talk with them and I hope we will find the way to continue this dialogue but one of the main principles CoE is based on, I will reiterate it here, in Georgia, is territorial integrity. No one has right to violate this principle and it concerns Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well”. She also spoke about Constitutional, electoral Code and judicial reforms. “Some steps have been made but it is important that there is no impunity, is it a civil society or a politician – all breaches shall be punished. Jurisdiction shall be transparent and the system – reliable”. Solution of the problems in the country is possible with bilateral dialogue and mutual respect. “I hope you will find the solution for your problems to continue protection of your citizens”.
The visit started on May 6 and will be accomplished on May 9. A. Brasseur will meet the legislative and executive, as well as judicial authorities.