The EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee held its 11th session in the Parliament of Georgia on September 21. The permanent delegations of the Georgian and European Parliaments participated in the session co-chaired by MP Maka Botchorishvili, Chairperson of the Parliament’s European Integration Committee, and MEP Marina Kaljurand, Chairperson of the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee.
The Georgian Parliament reported that Ambassador Pawel Herczynski, the new Head of the European Union Delegation to Georgia, representatives of the Georgian executive authorities, Public Defender’s Office and the European Commission, as well as Ambassador Marek Szczygieł, Head of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia also attended the session.
Addresses by co-chairs
In her welcome speech, MP Maka Botchorishvili noted that by granting the European perspective to Georgia, the relations between Georgia and the EU moved to a new stage.
“On the one hand, the European perspective is the opportunity to ensure our European future, and on the other, it is a test for both Georgian political parties and Georgian society,” she said.
MP Botchorishvili also stressed that Georgia should do its utmost “not to lose this historical opportunity and to make Georgia’s EU membership irreversible.”
According to the Georgian Parliament, MEP Marina Kaljurand noted that granting the European perspective to Georgia is “a historical moment” in the Georgia-EU relations.
She stressed that if political forces put aside their differences, overcome polarization and focus on the key priority, the candidate status for Georgia will be guaranteed.
She also talked about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its consequences.
“My main message to Georgian politicians – the door to the EU candidate status is open. This is a unique window of opportunity for Georgia, earned by the blood and suffering of the Ukrainian people. Do not waste it,” MEP Kaljurand wrote on Twitter, adding that “the European Parliament will support you on the path of democratic reforms and EU integration.”
The Parliament reported that consolidation of democratic reforms and protection of fundamental freedoms were the key issues discussed at the session. The participants also reportedly spoke about a broad range issues, among others peaceful settlement of conflicts in Georgia; impact of Russian aggression against Ukraine on Georgia; Georgia’s reconciliation policy towards the occupied regions; Geneva International Discussions and the EUMM activities, as well as Georgia-EU economic integration and the Association Agreement.
Comments by opposition and Public Defender’s Office
MP Akaki Minashvili of the United National Movement and MP Herman Szabo of Girchi party also attended the session. The Public Defender’s Office was represented by Giorgi Burjanadze.
“Our European friends are consistent. They reiterated that we should work together to achieve the goal,” Herman Szabo said after the meeting.
Giorgi Burjanadze told reporters that the ruling party did not share the recommendations offered by the civil society, the Public Defender’s Office and the U.S. Embassy regarding reforms in the High Council of Justice. “We discussed the challenges faced by the judicial system,” he added.