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The News in Brief

Monday, June 6
Everyone unanimously recognize Georgia is only candidate which met all requirements - EU Ambassador to Latvia

“Everone unanimously recognized that Georgia is the only candidate on the list which met all the requirements for visa liberalisation,” European Union's Ambassador to Latvia, Sanita Pavluta-Deslandes, said in an exclusive interview with the Public Broadcaster.

The Ambassador said that a very complicated discussion is underway about granting the EU visa requirements, but not because of Georgia.

Sanita Pavluta-Deslandes notes that the visa-free regime is a very sensitive issue in some EU countries.

"There is a general agreement in the organization and no one has a contrary opinion about the fact Georgia has met all the requirements. In addition, the Commission prepared a positive report, which was the first step. The thing is that visa-free regimes are a very sensitive subject in some EU countries. The reason is public opinion. The European population is concerned about questions related to migration and the flow of third country nationals to the EU.

“So, every member of the organization has difficulties with regards to public opinion in their own countries. In several member states elections are coming soon and the issue becomes even more sensitive. I am sure that Georgia will receive a visa-free regime and I hope it will happen sooner than later, but you must understand that all member countries should agree on the issue. It will take some time," said the EU Ambassador to Latvia.

“I don’t know when it will happen. The EU chairman country sets the agenda. When the discussion is underway, of course, we take into account the context of other countries, which are waiting for a visa-free regime, but, all unanimously acknowledge that Georgia is the only candidate on the list which met all the requirements," said the Ambassador.

Parliament Delays Vote on Supreme Court Nominations Again

Parliament has again delayed the vote on President-nominated Supreme Court judge candidates as lawmakers from the ruling GDDG party appear to be still undecided whether to support the nominations.

Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili said at a parliamentary session on June 3 that the vote was postponed once again upon a request of MPs from the majority group in the parliament as they need more “consultations” among themselves.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili named incumbent Deputy Defence Minister Anna Dolidze as a candidate for the Supreme Court in February, and Tamar Laliashvili and Nona Todua for the two other vacant seats in March. Hearings in the parliamentary committees over the nominations were completed almost two months ago, and the only procedure left is a vote at a parliamentary session. But in early May, MP Giorgi Volski - who chairs the largest faction in parliament, made up of MPs from GDDG ruling party - said that members of his faction were undecided on whether to support the nominations.

The vote on the issue was in the agenda of Parliament’s June 3 session, and candidates were also present in the chamber, but the plans apparently changed last minute and the Parliament Speaker announced in the evening that the vote had been postponed.

“I hope this process will be completed soon. The Supreme Court needs judges, we all know that, and that’s why we are trying to reach a consensus,” Usupashvili said, who also added that the postponing of the vote was the result of a prior agreement with the President.

Presidential spokesperson Eka Mishveladze said that the Supreme Court “and no one else” needs the nominations to be approved by Parliament.

Ivanishvili and Burchuladze accuse each other of lying

Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and famous Georgian operatic bass Paata Burchuladze exchanged mutual accusations of lying.

“I would advice Paata Burchuladze not to lie,” Bidzina Ivanishvili said to journalists on Thursday when asked about Burchuladze’s statement that he was offered the presidential nomination by Georgian Dream before the last presidential elections, which were held in October 2013.

Paata Burchuladze, a popular figure in Georgia, recently entered politics forming his political movement, State for People.

Prior to Ivanishvili's statement, on June 1 Paata Burchuladze said in an interview with Ajara TV that he had been offered the presidential nomination in 2013. However, he said he declined the offer.

Burchuladze quickly responded to the Ivanishvili’s accusations.

“I am responsible for my words. No one has ever cast doubt on my words; the same cannot be said of Mr. Ivanishvili,” Burchuladze said.

Paata Burchuladze and his political movement have often been accused by GD leaders of being an ally of the United National Movement party.

Irakli Kobakhidze, Executive Secretary of Georgian Dream party, called Paata Burchuladze a “UNM satellite” in May after the two political groups – UNM and State for People – designated a joint candidate in one of the electoral districts during the by-elections.
(DF watch)