European Parliament Adopts Resolution on Georgia

The European Parliament adopted a draft resolution on November 15 on the implementation of the Association Agreement by Georgia at the plenary session.

528 MEPs supported the document, 97 voted against and 34 abstained.

The document welcomes the effective implementation of the visa-free regime for Georgian citizens since 27 March 2017; takes note of Georgia’s compliance with visa liberalization benchmarks and encourages regular monitoring thereof in order to ensure continued compliance.

The resolution also recalls with regret that after ten years, Russia still continues its illegal occupation of Georgian territories. The MEPs reiterated their unequivocal support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and emphasized the importance of proactive communication to Georgian citizens about the tangible benefits and goals of the Eastern Partnership.

In addition, the European Parliament expresses support for Georgia in its pursuit of a policy of peaceful conflict resolution, reconciliation and engagement and its constructive participation in the Geneva International Discussions; welcomes the Georgian efforts to maintain dialogue with Russia; and praises the initiative entitled ‘A Step to a Better Future’, presented on 4 April 2018 and aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of populations residing in occupied regions and fostering people-to-people contact and confidence building between divided communities.

The MEPs call on the Georgian authorities to continue ensuring stability, further democratic reforms, as well as economic and social improvements for Georgians who are affected by poverty, unemployment and economic emigration.

The European Parliament acknowledges Georgia’s results in fighting low and mid-level corruption leading to a good regional ranking in perception indexes. Nevertheless, it says that high-level elite corruption remains a serious issue.

“High-level corruption, full independence of the judiciary, the depoliticization of media content, labor and human rights and environmental protection also remain areas of concern, MEPs stress,” the European Parliament press statement read.

Of the 2018 presidential elections in Georgia, the MEPs welcomed the “competitive nature and the absence of cases of violence.”

Georgia’s Minister of Economy, Giorgi Kobulia, says the adoption of the resolution means recognition of the progress made by Georgia in recent years. As for the corruption issue, the Minister says the country is actively fighting the existing risks.

“This is great support for and recognition of our country in terms of reforms, development and the progress we have made. The most important thing is that it shows we have a greater future and potential,” he said.

Davit Sergeenko, Minister of IDPs, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia also commented on the issue. He says the country fully fulfills the responsibilities and requirements under the Association Agreement with the EU.

“Georgia is one of the leading countries on its way to the EU and the EU expresses not only political support but also a readiness to provide financial support to our State,” the Minister said.

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze also thanked the MEPs before the voting.

“I am proud that the government's efforts have received an unprecedented positive evaluation from the European Parliament, and that Georgia was described as the most successful country in terms of Euro-integration,” the PM said.

By Thea Morrison

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15 November 2018 17:01