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The News in Brief

Friday, September 30
The weapons found

Georgia law enforcement bodies stated that they discovered a big amount of weapons allegedly hidden by the former UNM ruling force. The investigation has started. (The Messenger)

GDDG Hires U.S. Lobbying and PR Consultancy Firms

The Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) ruling party has hired Impact Management Group (IMG) for “lobbyist services” in the United States in the run up to and after the October 8 parliamentary elections in Georgia.

Under a four-month contract, running from August 4 till November 30, Georgia’s ruling party will pay USD 320,000 to IMG, according to filings submitted this month by the firm to the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

For government relations consultancy, IMG hired as a subcontractor Alpine Group, a Washington-based lobbying firm, which will receive USD 22,500 in a period between August 29 and October 8, 2016.

For “media relations services”, IMG has a separate subcontract with public relations agency K-Global, which was providing services to the Georgian Dream back in 2012, ahead of the previous parliamentary elections. Subcontract with K-Global, worth USD 10,000, runs from August 29 till October 10, 2016.

According to the contract, IMG will assist GDDG representatives with scheduling meetings with members of the U.S. Congress and “relevant agencies” for the purpose of “educating” them regarding Georgia and upcoming parliamentary elections. IMG will advise GDDG on “communication strategy and assist with placement of news stories with credible news organizations”, coordinate messaging, assist to communicate to Western news organizations, and help “to deliver messages of the party to political leaders in U.S.”

The firm will also provide logistical support for trip of GDDG representatives to the United States and their meetings with Congress members, as well as logistical support for a trip of members of Congress to Georgia, according to the contract.

In April, the Georgian government hired law and lobbying firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman to get “advice and assistance on U.S.-Georgia bilateral relation” and in “communicating” with the U.S. administration officials and Congress members. Under one-year contract, the government is paying Pillsbury USD 50,000 per month. (

Government embarks on examining beauty salons

Tbilisi, DFwatch – Beauty salons have to formally register at the Public Registry from October 1 in order to be properly examined by the Ministry of Health in the frames of the government program aimed at eliminating Hepatitis C.

Although there is no official data, the government and many experts believe the beauty salons, along with dental care facilities, contribute much to the ‘medical’ causes of Hepatitis C epidemic in Georgia.

The salons face fines for non-compliance, and in the case of chronic defiance even shutdowns.

The ministry resorted to same measures with the dental care facilities requiring them having a license.

The government launched program of elimination of C Hepatitis in 2015. (

Lithuania adopts document supporting Georgia-EU visa waiver

Lawmakers in Lithuania are wholeheartedly supporting Georgia and its bid for a visa-free travel regime to the European Union (EU).

Yesterday, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the unicameral Parliament (Seimas) of Lithuania adopted a special document, where the country’s lawmakers address the EU to grant Georgian citizens with a visa waiver to travel to the EU "in the nearest future”.

In the document Lithuanian lawmakers appealed to the Council of Europe and European Parliament to ensure all necessary and legal procedures are carried out "as soon as possible” to allow Georgians to travel in the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone without a visa.

The Lithuanian Seimas stressed Georgia has fulfilled "all obligations” outlined in the Georgia-EU Visa Liberalisation Action Plan (VLAP), which was earlier confirmed in a positive report of the European Commission.

The document also noted Georgia had gained support from the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) in the European Parliament on September 5, when the Committee voted in favour of Georgia receiving a visa waiver to travel to the EU.

“Granting visa-free travel to Georgia will increase Georgians' trust in the EU and its institutions, and that’s important because it support the country to continue its democratic reforms and continue striving towards Europe,” the document read.

The adoption of the document was preceded by Georgian Ambassador to Lithuania Khatuna Salukvadze’s meeting with Lithuanian lawmakers on September 19, where the diplomat briefed Parliament members about the reforms carried out in Georgia and the country’s foreign, political priorities. (

Parliament of Georgia nominated as one of most the open and public institutions

Staff of the Parliament of Georgia were awarded for the provision of accessibility to public information in 2016. The award ceremony was organized by the DFI and Open Society Georgia.

The Georgian Parliament, along with other public agencies, was nominated amongst 55 public institutions with the 100% rate of accessibility to public information.

The Parliament joined the Open Governance Partnership on April 30, 2015 when signing the Parliamentary Openness Memorandum and the Declaration on Parliamentary Openness between the Parliament and international organizations and NGOs.

On July 17, 2015 the Bureau endorsed the action plan of the Open Parliament and thus, Georgia accessed to the short list of the OGP member states and became one of the leaders.

On September 14-15, 2015, within the Global Legislative Openness Week, the Parliament hosted the 2-day international conference “Parliamentary Action Plans, Standards and Tools”.

On October 28, 2015 prior to official opening of the Mexico Global Summit, the award ceremony of the winner country of Open Governance Partnership Championship was held. The winner was revealed amongst 3 semi-final candidates (Georgia, Costa Rica and Sierra Leone) through e-voting and on October 27, the award was granted to Georgia, namely to the Inter-Faction Group amongst 65 OGP member states.

The Inter-Faction Group was nominated by IDFI implementing the Parliamentary Involvement in Open Governance Partnership Initiative since December 2014 with support of the EU and UNDP. (