Members of Parliament, CSOs Meet with MEPs

After meeting with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, the delegation of MEPs currently visiting the nation went on to meet with Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, Parliamentary committees, members of the opposition, and civil society organizations. The focus of discussion, among other issues, was the country’s recently granted European perspective and the European Commission’s 12 recommendations which it must fulfill to achieve EU candidate status.

The European Parliament’s delegation includes MEPs David McAllister, Sven Mikser, Željana Zovko, Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Thierry Mariani, and Assita Kanko.

Meetings with Parliament Speaker, Committees

The delegation started their round of meetings with Speaker Papuashvili, who was accompanied by MP Nikoloz Samkharadze, and MP Maka Botchorishvili. Speaker Papuashvili denoted that “Georgia has already started the process of implementing the recommendations and that the Parliament of Georgia will continue to actively work on their implementation over the course of the following six months.”

The MEPs also met with the Foreign Relations Committee separately, which is chaired by MP Samkharadze. Samkharadze stated the focus “was entirely on current regional affairs and Georgia’s function as a peace broker in the South Caucasus… including Georgia’s position in the region, its foreign policy, and how the European Union may assist the country in carrying out its foreign policy.”

Following the meeting, MP Samkharadze emphasized, “We did not talk about the internal developments and situation at this meeting.” “I told them exactly, that when someone, one of the European Parliamentarians, makes a statement that is for me personally as a politician insulting, I will definitely return an answer,” he added.

The MEPs then met with the Committee of European Integration, chaired by MP Botchorishvili, to discuss progress on fulfilling reforms and Georgia’s alignment with the Association Agreement.

MP Botchorishvili underscored, “This [Association] Agreement is the best guide for the country’s transformation, which we have with the European Union, and part of this agreement is reflected in the recommendations to be implemented.”

Meetings with Opposition

On July 20, the MEPs held a separate meeting with the opposition and independent MPs to hear their concerns about the reform process and plans for how to fulfill the 12 recommendations.

Levan Bezhashvili, MP of the largest opposition party the United National Movement, explained, “We expressed our desire that they conduct a monitoring process throughout this period [and] make sharp clarifications regarding the implementation of the 12-point plan so as not to give the Georgian Dream the opportunity to interpret various issues, including the issue of deoligarchization.”

Giorgi (Gigi) Khojevanishvili, For Georgia MP, proclaimed, “First of all, it should be said that there were very sharp assessments made by the representatives of the European Parliament and EU. Of course, they condemned the steps that we see today from the Chairperson of the Georgian Dream and other officials [regarding] the open and aggressive attack on our European and American partners.”

“In addition to that, there was talk about the 12 points and fulfilling these recommendations… There is a call from our foreign colleagues to get involved in this process, including so it does not become a basis for the Georgian Dream in the future to say that no one from the opposition was involved in this process,” he added.

Anna Natsvlishvili, Lelo for Georgia MP, reiterated the significance of the meeting and said the MEPs’ visit is “yet another confirmation that on the part of the European Parliament and EU, despite the unworthiness of the authorities, they remain our friends and partners and tell us once again ‘Help us, help you.'”

Strategy Aghmashenebeli leader, Giorgi Vashadze, denoted, “We said that we are planning, including with the civil sector, working in parallel on all relevant laws regarding these 12 points and we asked them to create a certain mechanism with which there will be an assessment of the laws that we draft because this will be in total compliance with the requirements that our European partners presented.”

Meetings with CSOs, Public Defender

As part of their two-day visit, the MEPs met with civil society organizations and the Public Defender of Georgia on July 20 at the EU’s Office in Georgia to discuss the direction that the country is headed and the necessary reforms.

Post meeting, Nika Simonishvili, Chairperson of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), said they discussed fundamental reforms and changes to be implemented in the judiciary and electoral system. “The MEPs were interested in what steps have been taken in this direction,” he stated.

Per Gia Gvilava, representative of Transparency International – Georgia, at the meeting they covered the campaign against the EU by the ruling party, on which the MEPs had “many questions.”

“They were trying to understand why the government would organize such a campaign against people who are lobbying for Georgia to be granted [candidate] status,” he said, adding that it was “inexplicable” for the delegation.

On her part, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria explained that she focused on imprisoned opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV chief Nika Gvaramia, and told them that “it will be very important for them to [make more] appeals on this issue in the future.”

“Regarding [Mikheil] Saakashvili, they were also interested in his state of health and I provided the information that I have at this moment, she added.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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