MEP Moody on Sanctions, Smokescreens & Workers' Rights


Will the European Parliament adopt a somewhat belated resolution on the Tatunashvili case? What do they think in Britain about Georgia’s decision to expel a Russian diplomat over the Skripal incident? And is Brussels going to put pressure on the Georgian government over work safety and rights after the tragic accident involving six miners? These were the questions we asked Mep Clare Moody, Co-Chair of the European Parliament & Georgia Friendship Group, in an exclusive interview for yet another episode of the “Messages from Brussels” series

What is your assessment of the Georgian government's decision to adopt the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List, which aims to put sanctions on those involved in the murders?

With the Tatunashvili case, I'm pleased that his body is now back in Georgia with his family, but of course with that there have been more discoveries about what may have happened to him while he was held prisoner. I think that it is really important for there to be a proper investigation into his case with accountability as the aim at the end of the investigation.

How feasible do you think the investigation is ever going to be if the South Ossetian side refuses to cooperate?

That’s absolutely the right question. There have to be consequences to actions and the List you mentioned is a good process to follow through as it identifies individuals that are involved in both the cases. But beyond that, in all such cases that exist in those areas.

Can we expect the EU and its member countries to adopt this List, too?

Yes, I think it would be right to expect this in terms of that being the right and proper thing for other countries to do. I know I would be fully supportive of that and I will make the case to my own government, to the UK government, to support it. I'll also make the point to the EU administration; I can’t say that is absolutely guaranteed that Georgia will get EU support for it or the individuals involved, but what the actual impact of the sanctions from outside the EU would be is a question that needs to be answered. In any case, I will raise that point precisely.

Not much was said in the EP about the Tatunashvili case, unlike that of Mukhtarli, where a resolution was adopted. Should we expect a resolution? 

Well, one very concrete thing which is happening is that we have a security and defense subcommittee visit coming to Georgia in May, and I would expect this Tatunashvili case to be central because we are going to visit the "borderline." We'll be reporting back to the EP on it.

Can we expect it will end in a resolution?

Indeed I think there would be. It would certainly be part of our debates in the committee and we'll be looking at having a resolution in the EP, in particular in relation to the fact it’s now 10 years since 2008 and the centenary of the Georgian Government, and we will also be looking at including in there a resolution reference to the Tatunashvili case as well.

On to the Skripal case. What is your assessment on Georgia’s decision to also expel one Russian diplomat as an act of support towards the UK?

We genuinely appreciate the support that has come from other countries and Georgia's expulsion of a diplomat was an act that we are grateful for and respectful of. It’s a demonstration of our interconnectedness and that Russia's actions in different ways in different countries, worldwide requires a response.

There was a peculiar statement from the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Grigory Karasin, who said that Georgia made this decision under pressure from the UK and USA...

We have seen so many comments coming out of Russia in recent weeks about what’s been going on; there are over 20 different versions of what was supposed to have happened to the Skripals. They even said it was Sweden that did it. Sweden is not known for such actions; so it was a way of stirring up a smokescreen to disguise what was actually going on… 

What are your thoughts on the recent mine-collapse in Georgia which killed six miners? Should there be more pressure from the EU for the Georgian government to better deal with the situation? Can you see Association Agreement successfully implemented with a country where labor and work safety is overlooked? 

I'm a very big supporter of the close relationship between the EU and Georgia, as supported by the Association Agreement, (AA) but the AA is a wide-ranging document and it is really important that within that document there are associated laws that need to come into affect which are focused around labor rights and very particularly around health and safety protection. I know that there is a law that is being brought forward around the health and safety perspective, but it is really important that it is properly monitored and implemented.

It certainly takes time... and meanwhile people are dying

In my view, it has to be taken head-on and really quickly, because you cannot have people dying when they go to work, their families see them off in the morning and then they don’t come home at the end of the day. This is a fundamental right to life; so I really want to see the health and safety elements of the Association Agreement put into affect but I see it’s just as much about labor standards and labor implementation in work across all sorts of issues; absolutely on life and death, but there are wider points.

 This article was prepared in the scope of “Messages from Brussels” series, a project by European Alliance for Georgia, a Brussels-based advocacy organization dedicated to “Bringing more Georgia into Europe.”

By Vazha Tavberidze


26 April 2018 15:21