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President Michel Says EU Aid Conditioned on Court Reform

European Council President Charles Michel said today in his press remarks after holding meetings with Georgian President, Prime Minister, and opposition leaders in Batumi, that the “fast-track” appointment of six Supreme Court justices “did not reflect the results of consultations with international and domestic stakeholders” and “was clearly a missed opportunity.”

“Determined progress in consolidating the rule of law through political and judicial reforms is of particular importance,” stressed President Michel and recalled that the judicial reform is a condition for disbursement of EU’s macro-financial aid to Georgia.

President Michel said his “single most important” message to all political parties is that full implementation of the April 19 deal is the “best guarantee to advance Georgia’s democratic agenda, in the interest of the country’s citizens.”

Continuing on the July 5-6 developments, homophobic violence and attacks on journalists, President Michel underscored that fundamental rights and freedoms play a central role in EU- Georgia relations.

“Rights of minorities are not a marginal issue, respect for diversity and human dignity are essential to our fundamental values and the constitutional rights to freedom of press and to freedom of expression must be upheld.”

President Michel added that he was “pleased” that all signatories of the deal were committed to its full implementation, and called on “those who have not yet signed to do so.” The United National Movement-led Strength in Unity bloc is the largest opposition group, which has not signed the deal.

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