Liliane Maury Pasquier, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), is on a working visit to Georgia on April 29-30. Today, she addressed the Parliament of Georgia on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of Georgia’s accession to the Council of Europe (CoE).
PACE President said Georgia’s accession 20 years ago “was a major step in consolidating democratic institutions” in the country, and “a huge boost for reforms in several important areas,” including constitutional and judiciary reform, human rights protection and fight against corruption.
“These reforms are the results of joint efforts of Georgian institutions and Georgian experts, along with the input of CoE institutions, experts and bodies,” the PACE President said, expressing hope that the country will further continue to make use of CoE’s expertise and recommendations.
She also said Georgia “needs to preserve and further develop” its democratic achievements. “For this, it is essential to ensure pluralistic and democratic political dialogue within Parliament, including a constructive dialogue between all political forces so as to consolidate the society and ensure broad support for the necessary reforms still needed,” Maury Pasquier added.
The PACE President then noted that “all political forces have a great responsibility in this context.” “The majority is responsible for governing the country, while listening to and respecting the rights of the opposition; the opposition has a responsibility to contribute constructively to the political debates within democratic institutions,” she said.
Georgian leaders – Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, President Salome Zurabishvili and Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze – attended the solemn Parliamentary session as well, highlighting in their remarks the country’s democratic achievements since joining the organization. They also touched upon the human rights situation in the Russian-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.
On April 29, she travelled to village Odzisi of Mtskheta Municipality, at the edge of the Russian-occupied Tskhinvali region, as well as the Tserovani settlement for IDPs from the region.
Georgia joined the Council of Europe on April 27, 1999. From November 2019 to May 2020, the country will chair CoE’s Committee of Ministers, the organization’s decision-making body.