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The News in Brief

Tuesday, February 21
Research: Georgia’s Economic Freedom Index Improved

According to the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom, an annual publication by the Heritage Foundation, Georgia is ranked as 13th freest economy in the world and 5th freest in Europe, falling behind Switzerland, Estonia, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Georgia’s overall score has improved by 3.4 points since last year reaching 76 points. As a result, the country still remains in the “mostly free” category.

Georgia’s government, the report said, maintained “strong momentum” in liberalizing economic activity while “taking steps” to restore fiscal discipline.

Public debt and budget deficits "remain under control," according to the report. "Large-scale privatization has advanced, and anticorruption efforts have yielded some notable results," it added.

“Open-market policies, supported by competitively low tax rates and regulatory efficiency, have facilitated flows of trade and investment,” it also said.

The report stated that the “well-maintained” monetary stability and fiscal health has contributed to macroeconomic resilience. Nonetheless, “deeper and more rapid” institutional reforms to enhance judicial independence and effectiveness remain “critical” to ensuring further economic development.

The Index of Economic Freedom measures economic policy developments in 186 countries.

Countries are graded and ranked on a scale from 0 to 100 with 12 components of economic freedom that evaluate the rule of law, government size, regulatory efficiency, and the openness of markets.

Driving license applicants to pass practical exam in real traffic

After a one year break, Parliament re-launched the discussion on the legislative amendments on traffic rule and related bills, according to which driving license applicants will have to pass a practical exam on the streets in real traffic conditions.

As parliamentary majority leader Archil Talakvadze has told IPN, the planned legislative amendments will allegedly be adopted at the spring session and the new rule of the practical exam will supposedly take effect from autumn.

According to him, the 100-point system will also start functioning from the autumn.

“The amendments also envisage the establishment of a ‘points system’, according to which those fined by the Patrol Police will lose points and will have their licenses suspended once their 100-point limit expires,” he said.

“Speeding, drunk-driving and other violations will be more strictly controlled,” Talakvadze added.

According to him, the legislation for the safety of pedestrians as well as children’s transportation will also become stricter.

As Talakvadze has said, the reforms also include the establishment of remote patrolling, an accepted method in Europe and the U.S., in which police officers will patrol in civilian vehicles with a special sign. The method also envisages the imposition of fines via video equipment.

Georgia defeats Germany in Rugby Europe Championship match

Georgia’s national rugby team has won its second match of the 2017 European Championship.

The Georgian side handed a defeat to Germany of 50 to 6 in the Georgian town of Rustavi in its second Rugby Europe Championship match on February 19.

In their first game, the Lelos defeated Belgium with the score of 31-6.

With its recent win, the Georgian side gained a bonus point and is currently leading in the tournament.

Looking ahead, Georgia will hold its third match against Spain on March 4.