The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) previewed on August 30 the first implementation report on the European Union Association Agreement with Georgia prepared by MEP Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, Latvia).
In his draft report, the MEP hailed Georgia’s progress in implementing the Association Agreement (AA) and called on the Georgian authorities “to keep up the momentum and to ensure stability, further democratic reforms and economic improvements.”
He also called on the Georgian authorities “to address some remaining concerns in line with AA – notably as regards labour standards, environmental protection and discrimination against vulnerable groups and women,” and at the same time welcomed the legislative and institutional steps taken in order to address those topics.
Mamikins believes AA has had “big institutional implications on Georgia,” and that after his recent visit to Tbilisi, he found “a good degree of coordination between government and parliament in the process of European integration.” According to him, the civil society was also “substantially engaged in the consultations on the EU integration.”
A fellow MEP Clare Moody (S&D, United Kingdom) presented the report on behalf of Mamikins. The latter had traveled to Georgia on July 23-24, to assess the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, which fully entered into force on July 1, 2016.
.@EP_ForeignAff resumes to take stock of #Ukraine, #Georgia & #Moldova reform efforts, implementation of association deals. Vote on respective resolutions scheduled during 1st half of October @petras_petras @andrejsmamikins #Gahler Live https://t.co/1ogHsefd0E
— AFET Committee Press (@EP_ForeignAff) August 30, 2018
AFET reviewed also a study prepared by an independent expert Nona Mikhalidze on implementation of the AA between the EU and Georgia. The expert said at the meeting that “the country is facing systemic challenge” when it comes to implementation of the political part of the AA, with “informal governance” remaining one of the major challenges for democracy.
Mikhelidze said although the transfer of power in 2012 has been assessed as “success of Georgian democracy,” the years of governance of the Georgian Dream (GD) party has demonstrated that “institutions are still weak.” “Georgia has never been able to overcome being one-party-dominated state,” the independent expert underscored.
She further noted that the power of the president is limited by constitution, GD has a constitutional majority on national, regional and local levels, the executive body dominates over parliament, judiciary branch makes its independence dubious, and the weakness of opposition “makes the ruling party even stronger pushing the population to vote for GD or to abstain not to participate in election at all.”
Mikhelidze said judiciary, which is “the heal of Achilles” of Georgia’s political system, lacks reforms to ensure independence, impartiality and professionalism of the judges, as well as the right to fear trial. “Judiciary is under political influence of interest groups,” she said, urging that “the most vulnerable part of the system is prosecutor’s office.”