Georgian ruling party, opposition go head to head over association agreement statement – why?
Representatives of the Georgian authorities and the opposition blame one another for the inability of the EU-Georgia Parliamentary Association Committee to adopt an annual declaration on the country’s progress towards integration into Western structures.
Held between February 12-13 in Strasbourg, this is the first time the committee has been unable to do approve a statement since Georgia signed the Association Agreement with the EU in 2014.
The Parliamentary Committee of the Association of the European Union-Georgia includes Georgian MPs and members of the European Parliament. Its main function is to monitor how Georgia fulfills its obligations under the Association Agreement.
In the annual declaration, the Committee also assesses the overall situation in the country.
According to the rules, the adoption of the declaration requires the support of the majority of both delegations: both members of the European Parliament and Georgian MPs. The majority in the Georgian delegation was represented by MPs from the ruling Georgian Dream party – and they refused to support the text of the declaration, considering it biased.
Dozens of amendments made by MPs of the European Parliament and the Georgian opposition, in particular, a critical assessment of the arrest of the opposition leader Gigi Ugulava and the failure of electoral reform in the Georgian parliament in November 2019, were unacceptable to representatives of the ruling party.
Other issues in Georgia noted by amendments to the declaration
About forty changes were made to the original text.
The main ones concerned the detention of Gigi Ugulava and trials and the frequent cases of political persecution.
Other issues named were:
•The government’s decision to suspend the construction of the deepwater port in Anaklia;
•The failure to fulfill the promise made to society regarding the transition to a proportional election system;
•Violations and pressure on voters during the presidential election in 2018;
•Lifetime appointment of 14 judges to the Supreme Court without a full assessment of their qualifications;
•Excessive use of force during the dispersal of shares on June 20 and November 14, 2019 Gold, resulting in the wounding of about 240 peaceful demonstrators, journalists and law enforcement officials.
•The arrest of more than 300 protesters;
•Government pressure on and the independent prosecution of independent media.
All these amendments to the text were supported not only by MPs representing the Georgian opposition, but also by all members of the European Parliament.
Authorities: “This is a failure – but the opposition, which works negatively, is to blame”
The ruling party of Georgia sent Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze to the meeting and former parliament speaker Irakli Kobakhidze. They held several meetings in Strasbourg, presenting to the members of the European Parliament their version of the situation in Georgia.
“It is a sad reality that the opposition is working very negatively. They are glad for this failure – but this is not the failure of the ruling party, it is the failure of the state. Therefore, such an attitude on their part causes damage primarily to the country. The actions they are taking are anti-state,” said David Songulashvili, co-chair of the Parliamentary Committee for the Association of the Georgian Parliament.
Opposition: “This is a warning to Ivanishvili about international isolation”
“This is an unprecedented story, our victory and the complete collapse of the Georgian Dream. … This is another warning for Ivanishvili that he is moving towards international isolation. Friends and partners of Georgia are friends and partners of our country, and not of any political party, and especially the oligarch who seized the state,” said Otar Kakhidze, a deputy from the opposition party European Georgia.