European Parliament AFET Delegation Reaffirms EU’s Support to Georgia

An ad hoc delegation of the Foreign Affairs Committee (AFET) of the European Parliament came to Georgia for a two-day visit during which time they Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of Georgia, the Speaker of the Parliament, Davit Usupashvili, Prime Minister Irakli

Garibashvili, as well as other Members of Government, Members of Parliament, Members of the Parliamentary Opposition, and representatives of civil society. Delegation members also visited prisons to meet Ivane Merabishvili, Giorgi Ugulava and Bacho Akhalaia, former government officials who were arrested under the new government.

During their visit, the delegation Members traveled to the Administrative Boundary Line (ABL) at Didi Khurvaleti, where Russian forces placed border signposts marking the so called “state border”, deep inside Georgian territory, earlier this month. Visiting the ABL, the delegation members saw the impact of such actions on the everyday life of local people. They reaffirmed their support for the territorial integrity of Georgia and reiterated that “the international community will not recognize the recent so-called treaties on alliance and integration signed between Russia and the two occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are a de facto annexation of these occupied territories.”

The AFET Members reminded the Georgian government that democratic developments and strengthening of democratic institutions is the best defense. In that regard, they expressed concern on the ongoing amendments to the legislation regarding the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) and its financial supervision powers, and reminded that “independence of the monetary policy from political influence should be safeguarded.”

The AFET Members also underlined the continued importance of implementing a thorough reform of the judiciary system. In particular, they called on the authorities to follow the recommendation of the Venice Commission on the Law on the Office of the Prosecutor, in order to ensure its full independence and de-politicization. After the visit to the prison to see former government officials, the MEPs stressed that the justice system should be free of political motivation.

Thereby, they welcomed the recent presidential pardon.

During the two-day visit, the AFET Members also touched upon the issue of the Association Agreement (AA), specifically the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP). “The Parliament fully supports Georgia in this process, convinced that visa free travel is the tangible short-term example of what the EU can offer to the population…considers that the visa free regime should be granted in 2016, once the relevant criteria are fulfilled“– reads the final statement of the delegation.

The Members expressed condolences for the victims and families of the recent flooding in Tbilisi, stressing that the EU assistance provided is a sign of the friendship to Georgian people.

The AFET delegation visit to Georgia comes after a visit to Ukraine, where they conducted similar meetings with top government officials, civil society organizations and representatives of different international organizations and missions operating in the country.

The eight-Member delegation was led by Elmar BROK (EPP, Germany), the Chair of the Committee, and saw the representation of most political groups in the European Parliament, including Sandra Kalniete (EPP, Latvia),  Andrej Plenkovic (EPP, Croatia),  Gabrielius Landsbergis (EPP, Lithaunia), Richard Howitt (S&D, UK), Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, Latvia), Marek Jurek (ECR, Poland), and Paavo Vayrynen (ALDE, Finland).

Nino Japarashvili

30 July 2015 21:21