Statement by European Parliament Ad Hoc Fact Finding Delegation to Georgia
Thursday, June 6Seven-member EP delegation visited Georgia on 3-4 June to assess the situation in the country in the light of the recent developments. EU-Georgia relations, cohabitation between the President and the Prime Minister, allegations of selective justice against the opposition party, attacks on the LGBT activists and supporters on 17 May, human rights and rule of law situation and the situation in prisons were among the main issues MEPs discussed with Georgia's top political leaders. MEPs recognised progress in some areas but also expressed concerns.
Libor Roucek (S&D, CZ, Chair of the delegation), Krzysztof Lisek (EPP, PL), Jan Kozlowski (EPP, PL), Boris Zala (S&D, SK), Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck (ALDE, BE), Ulrike Lunacek (Greens/EFA) and Ryszard Czarnecki (ECR, PL) issued the following statement after their meetings with the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament and Chairs of European Integration and Foreign Affairs Committees, parliamentary opposition, the Ombudsman, Ministers of Interior, of Judiciary, of Corrections, and deputy Ministers of Foreign Affairs, as well as representatives of civil society and media:
"We acknowledge that the peaceful transfer of power from the incumbency to the opposition represents a valuable democratic precedent in a country of the Eastern Partnership, for which all involved actors deserve praise.
We welcome the broad consensus in favour of the European orientation across the political landscape.
We are concerned, however, about the high level of political and social polarisation between the supporters of the currently ruling Georgian Dream coalition and the opposition United National Movement, as well as the undue personalisation of Georgian politics.
In this context, we highlight that the reform of the judiciary should be carried out and completed as a priority, ensuring the independence and impartiality of the judiciary. In particular, the reform of the High Justice Council and the powers of the Prosecutor General should be considered as high priorities.
In the meantime, we believe that the widespread demand for justice should be accomplished through the reaffirmation of the rule of law, due process and fight of impunity, not only through statements but also through tangible actions so as to avoid allegations of politically motivated prosecutions.
We restate our firm support to the territorial integrity of Georgia and are seriously concerned about the borderisation of the Administrative Border Line with the Georgian province of South Ossetia carried out by the Russian authorities without taking into account the legitimate interests of the local population.
We take note of the condemnation of violence during the events of 17 May by representatives of both the government and the opposition and are alarmed by the rise of hate speech and hate crimes against minorities and vulnerable groups. We encourage Georgian politicians to work towards enforcement of the highest European standards against hate speech and discrimination and expect due prosecution of perpetrators of such acts.
We welcome the proposed changes to the labour code and look forward towards their implementation.
We look forward to the draft of a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, including discrimination on grounds of gender as well as sexual, ethnic and religious minorities, women, disabled, IDPs and other groups. We welcome the involvement of civil society in the process.
We look forward towards the successful conclusion of the Association Agreement during the Vilnius summit of the Eastern Partnership, and are ready to reaffirm Georgia’s European perspective provided the delivery on crucial reforms, particularly in the areas of justice and fundamental rights.
We consider, in this respect, the forthcoming presidential elections as a test of the maturity of Georgian democracy.
We believe that the human rights of all should be upheld and protected at all times.
We recall that constructive, peaceful and dialectic cohabitation is also a sign of democracy.
The European Parliament remains a firm supporter of Georgia, and of strengthening of EU-Georgia relations and is ready to assist Georgia on its further democratisation and modernization path."