The co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), who are visiting Georgia, met with Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on March 28. Today, they visited the Georgian Parliament and met with opposition lawmakers. A meeting with members of the ruling party is also planned for later on March 29.
The PACE delegation consists of co-rapporteurs Claude Kern and Edite Estrela, as well as Bas Klein, Deputy Head of the Secretariat of the PACE Monitoring Committee.
Meeting with PM
The key directions of cooperation between Georgia and the PACE, as well as the agenda of Georgia’s ongoing and implemented democratic reforms were the main issues discussed at the meeting, according to the Georgian Government Administration. Special attention was paid to the constructive work of the PACE co-rapporteurs.
The participants also discussed the situation in Georgia’s occupied territories, noting the role of the Council of Europe’s support for peaceful conflict resolution. In this context, PM Garibashvili thanked PACE for its unwavering support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Meeting with opposition
MP Tina Bokuchava of the United National Movement said after the meeting with the PACE co-rapporteurs that they discussed “threats” posed by the government to Georgia’s democracy, EU integration, national plans and goals. “We also talked about the state of health of Mikheil Saakashvili,” she added.
“We discussed the process of fulfilling the European Commission’s recommendations, as well as the difficulties and obstacles created by Georgian Dream [in this direction],” said MP Teona Akubardia of the Reforms Group. She stressed that the issues of ex-President Saakashvili and Nika Gvaramia, director of the government-critical Mtavari Arkhi TV, were also raised at the meeting.
Giorgi Vashadze, leader of “Strategy Agmashenebeli,” noted that the PACE co-rapporteurs denounced as “shocking” the processes underway in the Parliament. “They do not even have any questions about 12 recommendations; they know what needs to be done, but actually nothing has been done,” Vashadze said.
“We talked with our European colleagues about the levers to increase pressure on the current government and ensure that the Georgian people do not lose their right to become EU citizens,” MP Salome Samadashvili of the Lelo for Georgia party said.
“We have made it clear that we [the opposition] support the candidate status for our country, regardless of the most difficult political processes in the country,” MP Khatuna Samnidze of the Republican Party told reporters after the meeting.
MP Herman Sabo of the Girchi party said that the participants discussed the issues related to necessary reforms and the natural electoral threshold, which “will reduce polarization and bring new players into politics.”
Meeting with Georgian Dream MPs
The PACE co-rapporteurs met with the Georgian Dream MPs of the Parliament’s Legal Issues Committee and discussed the implementation of the European Commission’s recommendations.
Anri Okhanashvili, the chairman of the committee, said that the European guests were interested in the steps taken by the committee to implement the 12 recommendations, namely those related to the draft law on de-oligarchization and judicial issues. “We informed our guests about the opinions of the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR, which we have received on these drafts. We are planning the consideration of these recommendations and all the recommendations that are compatible with the best European standards and the approaches of the Venice Commission will be taken into account and all the laws will be adopted”, he added.
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