On July 1, the ruling Georgian Dream party chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze unveiled a plan to meet 12 recommendations put forth by the European Commission for Georgia to receive EU candidate status. The announcement was made after the meeting of the political council at the party HQ in old Tbilisi, attended by PM Irakli Garibashvili, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, Vice-PM Tea Tsulukiani, and former Parliament Chairperson Kakha Kuchava, among others.
Below is GD’s vision of the necessary steps to fulfill the recommendations issued by the European Commission:
Point 1. Political Polarization
Noting that the first point of the recommendation should be considered as the basis for the effective implementation of the remaining 11, MP Kobakhidze said political forces should declare a moratorium on aggressive rhetoric. He said the opposition should refrain from its rhetoric which refuses to recognize the government’s domestic and foreign legitimacy. The same should apply to media, he said “which according to the conclusions of OSCE/ODIHR are one of the main sources of polarization in Georgia” and CSOs, whose “considerable number” are “also engaged in polarizing campaign.”
GD chair said, a polarization monitoring group will be created at the Georgian Parliament, and will involve all parliamentary parties, civil society representatives, and international partners. Its task, to carry out permanent monitoring and present weekly reports about trends of polarization. Coordination of the implementation of the first point will be carried out by the Parliament Speaker, Shalva Papuashvili MP Kobakhidze noted.
Point 2. Guarantee the Full Functioning of all State Institutions
The ruling party proposes a working group with representatives of all parliamentary parties and civil society will be created with the Parliamentary Committee on Procedural Issues, which will provide a comprehensive assessment of the Parliament’s implementation of regulations in the field of parliamentary supervision and will prepare a legislative proposal to correct the identified deficiencies. The relevant bill will be submitted to Parliament no later than September 21 and will be adopted no later than November 1.
In addition, a working group for revising the Election Code will be created at the Legal Affairs Committee involving MPs from all parliamentary groups, as well as the Central Election Commission representatives, the State Audit Office, and CSOs. Amendments to the Election Code will be prepared, in which the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR and the Venice Commission will be properly reflected. The bill will be submitted to the Parliament no later than September 21 and will be adopted no later than December 13. Before passing the second reading, the bill will be sent to the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR for their opinion.
Point 3. Judicial Reform Strategy and Action Plan
The existing judicial reform working group with the Legal Affairs Committee will resume its work in the coming days and, based on an in-depth analysis of the current situation in the judicial system, will prepare a strategy and action plan for judicial reform, as well as a package of relevant bills. The plan will be published by October 1, on the basis of which legislative amendments will be prepared and submitted to Parliament by November 1. The draft law will be sent to the Venice Commission and OSCE/ODIHR.
The draft constitutional amendment on the procedure for electing the Prosecutor General will be submitted to Parliament by September 1, and it is scheduled to be adopted no later than November 29.
Parliament will announce the competition for the selection of non-judge members of the High Council of Justice (HCoJ), the body overseeing the judiciary, no later than September 30, and the voting for the election of members will be held no later than November 15. The move will require the support of both, the Georgian Dream and opposition MPs.
Point 4. Strengthening Anti-Corruption Agency
A working group will be created with the Legal Affairs Committee to prepare a concept consolidating anti-corruption functions and proposals aimed at institutional strengthening of the Special Investigation Service and the Personal Data Service. The working group will include MPs from all parliamentary parties, as well as representatives of the Government Administration, Prosecutor’s Office, the State Security Service, and CSOs. The relevant draft laws will be submitted to Parliament no later than October 19, and they will be adopted by December 1.
Point 5. De-oligarchization
A working group will be created with the Legal Affairs Committee which will include representatives of all parliamentary parties and the civil society. The group will work on the draft law on de-oligarchization, which will be submitted to Parliament by no later than October 5 and will be adopted no later than November 29.
Point 6. Fight Against Organized Crime
A working group will be created with the Defense and Security Committee of Parliament, which will include members from all parliamentary parties, the Prosecutor’s Office, the High Council of Justice, the Interior Ministry, the Ministry of Justice, the State Security Service and civil society. By November 1, the group will prepare an in-depth assessment and develop proposals to correct shortcomings and further strengthen the fight against organized crime.
Point 7-8. Independent Media Environment, Human Rights Protection for Vulnerable Groups
The Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of Parliament, in cooperation with the Prosecutor’s Office and the Interior Ministry will ensure the publicity of information about the investigation of all relevant cases.
Point 9. Gender equality, Countering Violence Against Women
The Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee and the Gender Equality Council will carry out an active working process to prepare legislative proposals to promote gender equality and ensure an even more effective fight against gender-based violence. The package of relevant draft laws will be submitted to Parliament no later than October 5, and will be accepted no later than November 15.
Point 10. Involvement of Civil Society in Decision-making
Parliament Speaker will coordinate the effective involvement of CSOs in all processes related to fulfilling EU conditions. In addition, it will ensure that effective mechanisms of engagement are maintained even after the completion of EU recommendations.
Point 11. Georgian Courts to Proactively Consider ECHR Judgments
The Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee taking into account the implementation procedures of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, will prepare the relevant draft law and submit it to Parliament by September 1. The Parliament is set to adopt the bill no later than October 18.
Point 12. Nomination of the Public Defender
The parliamentary majority will offer the opposition an inclusive procedure for the selection of candidates for the Public Defender until September 1, which should ensure the nomination of a person equally acceptable to the majority and the opposition. Voting to elect the Public Defender will be held no later than December 1. The move will require both GD and opposition MPs’ backing.
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