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The News in Brief

Monday, July 15
Georgia gains significant success in implementation of “Eastern Partnership” road map

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze addressed the participants of "Georgia's European way" international conference in Batumi on Friday and spoke about the integration process to the EU and the country's progress in cooperation with the EU.

Georgia has reached significant progress in implementation of the Eastern Partnership road map initiative which has led to an important phase in the relations with the EU and an association agreement will lay a foundation to further intensify and develop these relations, Panjikidze said.

"The Vilnius Summit is an important moment for the development of the Eastern Partnership initiative," she said, adding that it should make the Europeanization process of the region irreversible and clearly show that the Eastern Partnership can really be a "game changer" as Commissioner Fule stressed in his speech in the European Parliament. “We believe that this summit can be historical," said the minister.

The minister listed several priorities. The priorities include working out of a framework agreement with the EU on Georgia's participation in the EU crisis management operations; signing an agreement on Georgia's participation in EU programs, as well as launching the negotiations on Georgia's accession to EU energy associations. Pandjikidze also stressed the importance of a free trade agreement and cooperation with the EU within the "more for more" initiative.

In conclusion, the foreign minister stressed that the Vilnius Summit must be a strong signal for the Eastern Partnership countries as the confirmation of their long-term European perspective.

Estonia supports Georgia’s aspirations to join EU and NATO

Estonia has always supported Georgia's aspirations to join the EU and NATO, Estonia's Foreign Minister, Urmas Paet, said at the press-conference in Batumi on Thursday.

"We will be glad if an association and free trade agreement is signed with Georgia soon," he said. "I will be glad if for example, I see Georgian tomatoes in Estonia's supermarkets."

He also expressed his hope that the negotiations on the liberalization of the visa regime with the EU will be conducted rapidly. "It is humiliating to stand in a queue to visit Finland which is only 80 kilometers from our country," he said. "We know this from our own experience. According to Georgia's decision, Europeans can travel to the country without a visa. I hope that the EU will adequately respond to this initiative."

Estonian Foreign Minister also stressed Georgia's contribution to a peacemaking mission in Afghanistan. "This mission is a very clear investment in the security of Georgia, as well as Europe," he said. "All partners should take this into account."

President Saakashvili visits Moldova

President Mikheil Saakashvili visited Moldova to attend the first working session of the Third Summit of the leaders of the EPP Eastern Partnership States at the Palace of Public in Chisinau. The sitting was dedicated to the discussion of the agenda of the Vilnius Summit. The participants focused on those common values and the need for democratic reforms for the countries joining the Eastern Partnership program in order to promote the process of integration.

After the working session, the leaders held a joint press conference. Saakashvili was invited to the Eastern Partnership summit by the leaders of Moldova’s Liberal Democratic Party and the European People`s Party.
(Rustavi 2)

Davit Kirvalidze: I believe in triumph of justice

Liberali reports that the former Minister of Agriculture of Georgia, Davit Kirvalidze, said he had not made any comments since his resignation as he hoped for a fast and fair investigation. “I address the Chief Prosecutor to finish the case as soon as possible. I believe in the triumph of justice,” Kirvalidze said, hoping that the six detained Ministry of Agriculture officials will soon be released.

Prime Minister meets with Supreme Court Chairperson

Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili met with the chairperson of the Supreme Court of Georgia, Konstantine Kublashvili to discuss the situation in Georgia’s judiciary and the need for improving social conditions for judges in Georgia. Kubashvili said prior to the meeting that the judges, especially those of the first instance courts, had very low salaries and the problem should be improved.

Newly elected chairperson of the Supreme Council of Justice of Georgia, Levan Murusidze, was also attending the meeting at the Batumi Sheraton.

The sides announced that the court must be independent and fair and have full discretion to make unbiased decisions.
(Rustavi 2)

Parliament overrides 2 presidential vetoes

The parliament overturned presidential vetoes on two bills on July 12 – one related to the amendments to the law on broadcasting and another envisaging cutting the president’s powers over the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission.

The presidential objections concerning the package of bills, passed by the parliament on May 31, envisaging reforming composition of the public TV’s board of trustees, transforming Adjara TV’s status into public broadcasting and providing measures for more financial transparency of broadcasters, mainly concerned part of the legislation, which envisages giving the Parliament the right to disband GPB’s board of trustees in case of GBP’s budget problems or failure to fulfill its content-related programming priorities.

Another bill on which the presidential veto was overturned will shift the right of appointing chairman and members of the Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission from President to Prime Minister.

New faction formed at Tbilisi Assembly

A new faction called Dedakalaki (The Capital) was formed at the Tbilisi City Assembly. Three MPs - Mamuka Katsitadze, Koki Ionatamishvili and Besarion Bendeliani will be the members of the faction. Ionatamishvili who will chair the faction said that whatever the political processes might be in the country, the self-government should work effectively.
(Rustavi 2)