Georgian Dream lawmaker Irakli Zarkua today slammed MEPs Viola von Cramon (The Greens/EFA, Germany), Marina Kaljurand (S&D, Estonia) and Miriam Lexmann (EPP, Slovakia) over “groundless, unfair antics,” after they went public with canceling a visit to Tbilisi because Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili “did not find the time to engage.”
Reiterating the official line, MP Zarkua argued that consultations between Speaker Papuashvili and European Parliament President Roberta Metsola should precede Jean Monet Dialogue co-facilitator MEPs’ visit to Tbilisi.
He claimed that the MEPs were “rushing” to Georgia before the freshly-elected officials presiding over the legislatures had settled on the protocol of the Dialogue. The GD MP went on to suggest the European lawmakers should “keep themselves busy with some other tasks.”
MP Zarkua also added that the MEPs should not use the Jean Monnet Dialogue as an excuse to travel abroad in case they “exhausted themselves” in the European Parliament. “I would advise them not to inflict [reputational] damage to the state and to this institution,” he added.
The ruling party lawmaker also called on MEP Viola von Cramon, European Parliament’s Democracy Support Group’s Lead Member for Georgia, to publish her correspondence with Speaker Papuashvili’s cabinet ahead of the cancellation of the trip to Tbilisi.
But the GD lawmaker did not specify further about the possible contents of the written communication.
Besides, MP Zarkua argued that the Dialogue process is not “vital” for Georgia, claiming that United National Movement lawmakers plan to stop their boycott of the plenary sessions and “enter the Parliament.”
The recent exchange between the Georgian Dream and the European Parliament lawmakers 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.
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 the EU-brokered April 19 deal between the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties. The GD quit the deal late in July.
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