European Parliament resolution recognizes Georgia’s progress
By Ana Robakidze
Friday, October 25The European Parliament has adopted a new resolution on the European Neighborhood Policy. The document prepared by the Foreign Affairs Committee recognizes "the progress achieved in the modernization of the country and in meeting the requirements of the Association Agreement in recent years, as well as the authorities’ effort to fight corruption and welcomes the exemplary peaceful transfer of power following the democratic parliamentary elections."
In the resolution the EU also highlights "some deficiencies that still persist in the application of democratic standards" in Georgia and advises the government to focus on further improvements in establishing " an independent and impartial judiciary and an effective criminal justice system, as well as a non-discriminatory electoral system and respect for minority rights."
The draft version of the document advises the Georgian government to release "all political prisoners, including former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili". The final version of the document states that "the ongoing judicial inquiries affecting leading opposition figures, including Vano Merabishvili, should be conducted in accordance with European standards and norms."
The EU firmly supports Georgia’s territorial integrity and appreciates the country’s efforts “to lessen tensions with Russia while preserving the country’s pro-European orientation.”
The Georgian government has welcomed the resolution and welcomes the initialing of the Association Agreement at the Vilnius Summit in November and the speedy conclusion of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan.
However, the EU believes that the association agreement should be preconditioned by tangible progress by the Georgian authorities in the area of rule of law. The resolution also emphasizes the EU's obligations to the participants of the Eastern Partnership.
The official statement published by the Georgian government emphasizes the importance of the resolution and the fact that the document was adopted before the Vilnius Summit and it recognizes the progress achieved by Georgia in meeting Association Agreement status.
"We warmly welcome the support of the European Parliament in the democratic reforms in Georgia. There is still much to be done and the Association Agreement will play a key role in speeding up and deepening the reforming process." the statement reads.
The EU pays great importance to the upcoming presidential election in Georgia and says October 27th will serve as a litmus test for Georgia’s readiness to apply standards of democracy and the rule of law.
The European Parliament hopes the opposition will be provided with full freedom to run in the election and absolute independence will be ensured for the media to cover the campaign.
“Georgia should not abstain from its European aspirations and should resist pressure to give up association with the EU." the European Parliament statement reads.