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Georgian Dream debates with the European Parliament

By Messenger Staff
Friday, March 15
The Georgian Dream government has gotten involved in a debate with the European Parliament. On March 6th 23 European Parliamentary MPs sent an open letter to Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, criticizing the country’s current government and stating that its actions were hurting Georgia’s chances of joining the European Union.

The signatories to the letter sent to Prime Minister Ivanishvili are primarily members of the European People’s Party (EPP) to which Georgia's opposition party the United National Movement (UNM) is an observer member. The letter alleges that Prime Minister Ivanishvili has suppressed democracy since coming to power this past October.

The letter alleges that the Georgian Dream government has exerted pressure on Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB). The letter also accuses the current Georgian government of putting pressure on the judiciary system, practicing selective justice and persecuting UNM members and municipal government representatives.

Some European MPs have reminded the Georgian government that the 23 signatories in question are expressing their own opinion and not that of the entire European Parliament.

The UNM has hailed the letter. However, the arguments used by the European MPs are the same arguments used by the UNM in its criticism of the current government. Some have alleged that the letter might have been prepared by UNM members in Georgia. This seems possible since the 23 MPs are allegedly personal friends and allies of Mikheil Saakashvili.

Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili responded to the letter by writing a spirited riposte that refuted the allegations. In his response the Georgian Parliamentary Chairman advised the European MPs to refrain from putting their signatures on a document which is based on false information. He also advised the MPs to better familiarize themselves with the situation in Georgia because their signatures on this letter will prove embarrassing in the future.

All the accusations made against the Georgian Dream government should in fact be made against the former UNM government. The UNM authorized the police raid on independent television station Imedi in 2007 and then several months later appropriated this venture illegally. The UNM subordinated the court system completely to the Prosecutor’s Office so that judges were only parroting prosecutors' decisions. It was under the UNM leadership when selective justice was flourishing. Under the UNM government there were multiple cases of abuse of human rights, appropriation of property, and other similar violations in favor of UNM officials.

It seems that the UNM still has a powerful lobby in European structures; Georgian Dream needs to take urgent counter-measures. Usupashvili’s letter and the letter which Prime Minister Ivanishvili has written should only be the beginning of an effort to spread the truth about what is going on in Georgia to the rest of the world.