Marina Kaljurand, Chairperson of the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee, and Sven Mikser, the rapporteur on Georgia, who are visiting Georgia, met with the leaders of the ruling Georgian Dream party as well as opposition lawmakers on September 20.
Meeting with the ruling party
The MEPs held separate meetings with Parliamentary Chairperson Shalva Papuashvili and chairman of the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze. Maka Botchorishvili, chairperson of the Parliament’s European Integration Committee, attended both meetings.
The Georgian Parliament’s press office reported that the Parliamentary Chairperson focused on the active bilateral cooperation agenda between Georgia and the EU and spoke on Georgia’s progress in fulfilling the European Commission’s recommendations.
The reforms ongoing under the Association Agreement, as well as the relationship between the European Parliament and the Georgian Parliament were also reportedly discussed.
- European Commission’s Memo Detailing Recommendations for Georgia
- Conditions First, Candidate Status After – EU Commission Recommends on Georgia
The Georgian Parliament reported that the fulfillment of the European Commission’s recommendations and current political situation in the country were discussed at the meeting between the MEPs and Georgian Dream chairman, Irakli Kobakhidze.
“We talked about the fulfillment of 12 conditions. We clarified that we have offered all parliamentary political parties to participate in the process… As a whole, they have detailed information regarding the process,” Kobakhidze said after the meeting.
Meeting with the parliamentary opposition
The Georgian Parliament reported that during a meeting with the opposition lawmakers, the MEPs focused on the opposition’s involvement in the process of fulfilling the European Commission’s recommendations.
MP Khatia Dekanoidze, chairperson of the United National Movement faction, said after the meeting that although “Georgia is not a democracy” and that she and her colleagues are under secret surveillance, “we are still represented in the Parliament and are doing our utmost for Georgia’s European integration.”
MP Salome Samadashvili of Lelo party noted that Western partners understand that “we will be in favor of all initiatives related to the fulfillment of the EU requirements.” The current media landscape was also discussed, she added.
“Everyone understands that entire responsibility rests with the government. They stand alone. They do not talk to anyone. They boycotted the Parliament’s extraordinary session. They boycotted and expelled the representatives of impartial civil society sector,” Giorgi Vashadze of “Strategy Agmashenebeli” said.
Khatuna Samnidze of the Republican Party noted that a broad range of issues, including judicial reforms, minority rights, investigation into the July 5-6 developments, media freedom were discussed at the meeting. “The only conclusion is that there is no progress on these issues in the country,” she stressed.
“I emphasized that the government has actually launched manipulating and rigging the elections,” Ana Buchukuri of ex-PM Giorgi Gakharia’s party “For Georgia” said.
Levan Ioseliani of “Citizens” party noted that the MEPs called on them to work together. “They refer to those people who refuse to participate in working groups,” he stressed.
Remarks by MEPs
Following the meeting, MEP Marina Kaljurand said that both the ruling party and the opposition should come together, be above party interests and start cooperating “for the interests of the whole nation because Georgian nation wants to be part of the EU and deserves to be a member of the EU.”
She called on “Georgian Dream” to work in a way that all stakeholders “feel that they are being listened to, that their positions are being discussed, that they are part of the process.”
MEP Kaljurand also stressed that the democratic society needs opposition and the voice of civil society. “It gives you the opportunity to decide the future of the country,” she addressed the opposition politicians, calling on them to join the working groups.
“The window is open and the window is open thanks to the sufferings and deaths of civilians, women, military of Ukraine. Without war, we would not be discussing today Georgia’s candidate status. Please, do not lose opportunity, please, take advantage of the opportunity, please, be prepared, because we do not know how long the window will be open,” she added.
MEP Sven Mikser also called on political parties to cooperate in fulfilling the European Commission’s recommendations, saying that the European integration is the goal which is much bigger than a separate party or politician.
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