MEPs Viola von Cramon (The Greens/EFA, Germany), Marina Kaljurand (S&D, Estonia) and Miriam Lexmann (EPP, Slovakia), the co-facilitators of the Jean Monnet Dialogue with Georgian parties, have said their January 21-22 visit to Georgia was cancelled as Parliament Speaker “Shalva Papuashvili did not find the time to engage.”
The news comes amid already strained relations between the Georgian Dream government and Brussels over the controversial Supreme Court and High Council of Justice appointments, GD’s preemptive refusal of conditional EU loan, and Georgia’s alleged spying on western diplomats, to name a few.
In their January 21 statement, the three Members of European Parliament stated “the visit was intended to explore the possibilities of launching a Jean Monnet Dialogue process with the Georgian Parliament, with the objective of developing an inter-party dialogue to build a better democratic parliamentary culture and trust.”
The MEPs expressed regrets that the political conditions necessary for the start of process were not fulfilled at the current stage.
“We believe that the Parliament of Georgia has a key position and responsibility to address the persisting and detrimental political [polarization] in the country and to advance with an inclusive and reformist agenda,” noted the three lawmakers.
Noting they remain available to provide assistance, the MEPs called on the Georgian Parliament to prepare the ground for a “conducive start” for the Jean Monnet Dialogue process.
MEP von Cramon, European Parliament’s Democracy Support Group’s Lead Member for Georgia, underlined in a tweet the Dialogue is being “protracted” by the Parliament. Pointing at polarization in the country, she argued it “now more than ever needs a functioning Parliament to tackle Georgia’s many challenges.”
MEP Lexmann, on her part, highlighted that while the lawmakers are committed to the Jean Monnet Dialogue, they expect “as much” from the Georgian Parliament.
The Jean Monnet Dialogue is a parliamentary mediation and dialogue tool developed by the European Parliament, and launched in 2016. The three lawmakers were tapped to lead the process in Georgia in June 2021, in the aftermath of EU-brokered April 19 deal between the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties. The GD quit the deal late in July.
Shalva Papuashvili was elected as Parliament Speaker on December 29, few days after previous Chairperson Kakha Kuchava unexpectedly resigned from the post and quit the legislature.