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Georgia takes over CoE chairmanship

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, November 28
Starting from November 27, 2019, until May 15, 2020, Georgia will chair the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE), a decision-making body composed of the ministers of foreign affairs of the 47 member states of the Council of Europe or their permanent representatives in Strasbourg.

As stated by the CoE, the chair "acts in a neutral way and ensures that the rules and guidelines are respected”. It further “guides the discussions, puts proposals to the vote and announces decisions.”

In his address to the public Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said that chairmanship is a “big responsibility and a big challenge for Georgia, as our country will exercise its presidency in the international organization for the first time.”

Zalkaliani said that Georgia has gone through and overcome many difficulties since gaining its independence back in 1991.

"There are still many things to do in the country. However, today I can proudly say that Georgia is not only a country of ancient history and traditions but also a successful and modern state that gained its genuinely deserved place within the international community,” FM said.

According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, Georgia took over the chairmanship from France at a meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which was held yesterday in Strasbourg.

Georgia was given a symbolic key by the French Presidency of the Council of Europe. Following the transfer of the chairmanship, the Georgian Foreign Minister addressed the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and introduced the priorities of Georgia's chairmanship.

Georgia has four priorities for the Presidency of the Council of Europe: human rights and environmental protection; Civic engagement in decision-making; Child-centered Justice - European Experience in Restorative Justice; Strengthening democracy through the involvement of education and culture.

Prior to the official presidency transfer ceremony, the Foreign Minister of Georgia and the Permanent Representatives of the Council of Europe member states together with the mayor of Strasbourg traveled with a tram displaying the Georgian alphabet and the logo of the Georgian Presidency. The tram will run in six months for the Georgian alphabet and the Georgian Presidency logo in Strasbourg.

Afterward, at the Republic Square in Strasbourg, the flag-raising ceremony was held with the participation of the Georgian Foreign Minister, the Strasbourg City Hall, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe and the French Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe.

Secretary-General of the CoE, Marija Pejcinovic Buric welcomed Georgia and future cooperation in her speech at the flag-raising ceremony in Strasbourg.

“Georgia has been a member of the pan-European family for 20 years. It is the first time that it has been summoned to chair the Council of Europe. You set some interesting priorities. I welcome the Government of Georgia and our future cooperation,” said the Secretary-General.

In addition, a concert by the National Ballet of Georgia - Sukhishvili will be held in Strasbourg on December 3, 2019, to celebrate the Georgian Chairmanship.

During the six months of the Presidency, Georgia will organize up to 20 events within the Council of Europe.

The Council of Europe is a leading organization for human rights, democracy and the rule of law, founded in 1949.

Georgia became a member of the Council of Europe on April 27, 1999.