European Council President in Georgia: Minority rights are not a secondary issue
President of the European Council Charles Michel visiting Georgia.
This is his third visit to Georgia after the political crisis erupted in the country following the parliamentary elections in October 2020. Georgia expects that he will try to resolve the ongoing crisis this time too.
Among the main topics of Michel’s meetings are the implementation of the April 19 agreement signed on his initiative by the political parties of Georgia, the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and the political situation in the country.
At the same time, the opposition claims that Michel cannot ignore the events of July 5-6, when opponents of the LGBT+ march attacked more than 50 journalists.
In the morning, Charles Michel had already met with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, as well as with representatives of the opposition and the government.
The parties did not comment on the meeting with the president.
Representatives of the opposition, after meeting with Michel, said they had discussed a number of issues, including the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court, the events of July 5-6, the upcoming elections, and problems with the implementation of the ‘Charles Michel Agreement’.
“We were talking about the need to strengthen the mechanisms of pressure on this government – a government that openly denies the European future of our country. I am sure that soon we will see a serious discussion of the implementation of the corresponding sanctions from Europe, when, unfortunately, the aid will be suspended on a conditional basis due to the ongoing problems, including ones related to Michel’s document”, Salome Samadashvili said after the meeting.
After meeting with the authorities and the opposition, Charles Michel made several important statements. According to him, the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court (contrary to the agreement on April 19, which provides for the suspension of appointments pending judicial reform) is a missed opportunity.
He also stated that in all today’s meetings, he stressed the importance of protecting fundamental human rights:
“In my meetings, I emphasized that human rights and freedoms play a central role in relations between the EU and Georgia. Minority rights are not a secondary issue – respect for diversity and human dignity is paramount and one of our fundamental values”, said Charles Michel.
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Despite Charles Michel’s statements, the country’s prime minister continues to insist that the ruling party complies with the ‘Charles Michel agreement’.
During Michel’s visit, Georgian media representatives were trying to draw the EU’s attention to their problems.
Last night in Batumi, where Charles Michel’s plane landed, several local journalists greeted him with photographs of cameraman Lekso Lashkarava, who had died after being attacked by opponents of the LGBT Pride.
Today, leaders and journalists of opposition TV channels gathered in front of the government office in Tbilisi, where they read a special address to Charles Michel about the media crisis in Georgia.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council, arrived in Georgia on 18 July. Prior to that, he visited Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Today, on July 19, the head of the European Council will participate in an international conference.
The President of the European Council is one of the highest officials of the European Union and the main EU representative in the international arena.
Belgian politician Charles Michel was appointed to this position in 2019. Prior to that, Michel served as Prime Minister of Belgium for five years.
The European Council is the main political body European Union. The Council includes only the leaders of the EU countries and determines the development strategy and policy of the European Union