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The Daily Beat: 9 February

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman is making his first-ever trip to Georgia, timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. On the first day of his visit, the Croatian top diplomat discussed bilateral political and economic relations, as well as Georgia’s European integration with the prime minister and the ministers of foreign affairs and the economy. The Georgian officials thanked the Croatian guest for his continued support for Georgia’s territorial integrity and aspirations to join the EU. A newly established Georgian diplomatic mission in Zagreb will be instrumental in promoting full-fledged bilateral cooperation, Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili said at a joint press briefing after the meeting.

Non-reimbursable budget support of EUR 20.87 million has been transferred to Georgia by the EU, the EU delegation to Georgia said. The EU money is earmarked to support ongoing reforms in various sectors, including economic and business development, labor market, regional and rural development, agriculture and food safety. Budgetary support is an instrument of EU cooperation with partner countries, and its disbursement is conditional on satisfactory results.

Speaker Shalva Papuashvili delivered an annual parliamentary report summarizing both achievements and remaining challenges. Speaker Papuashvili criticized the United National Movement for boycotting the legislature and blamed the civil society organizations for exerting pressure on the parliamentary opposition, thus preventing the election of the new public defender. The speaker highly praised lawmaking and parliamentary diplomacy efforts, stressing the role of the parliament in fulfilling 12 EU recommendations.

The National Bank of Georgia objects to hasty amendments to the law that governs its work and fears for its independence. The amendments would appoint a special representative to replace the president in his absence and increase the number of executive members of the board. The Central Bank warned that if adopted, the changes will significantly diminish the board’s function as an independent oversight body.

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Irakli Kobakhidze claimed Russia militarily has “an advantage” both in general and at the current point of its campaign in Ukraine. He went on to suggest that precisely because of that “advantage,” the “Global Party of War” wants to see Georgia dragged into hostilities. He said he was careful not to name the names to that “Global Party” not to spoil inter-state relations, but “you know who I mean.” Kobakhidze, the ruling party, and its more daring spinoff, People’s Power, have been blaming the West and the U.S. in particular of the plot that would involve forcing the ruling party’s patron, Bidzina Ivanishvili, back to the forefront of the political life, and a subsequent engagement of Georgia into war. President Salome Zurabishvili appears increasingly appalled by the conspiracy-mongering, she called the position “defeatist” and repeat that she neither comprehends nor shares such beliefs.


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