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The News in Brief

Thursday, February 5
Georgian Government implements five-year project with USAID

Within the framework of the Good Governance Initiative in Georgia (GGI) the Government moves to the next stage of cooperation with United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Together with USAID Georgian Government will implement a five-year project whith budget of nine million USD.

The purpose of a project is to improve governance structure, transparency, accountability, efficiency and to strengthen the democratic institutions.

GGI will help Georgian Government’s legislative and executive branches at the central and local levels, will strengthen the connection between the different branches of the governance. The Good Governance Initiative will provide technical assistance to its partner governance structures. At the same time GGI will help them to arrange the trainings.

"It was very fruitful meeting with USAID’s representatives. nine million USD is the budget of five-year project which is very useful for Georgia. Though, we still do not know how this money will be distributed. However, Georgian Government starts working with different agencies in this direction. Then, the Government and USAID will make a joint presentation where they will announce how the money will be distributed,” said Deputy Head of Administration of Georgian Government Nina Kobakhidze.

"Today it is a very exciting day. USAID is partnering with the Government of Georgia to advance some specific reforms that are important for Georgia’s democratic governance. We are working on civil service reform, healthcare reform, open government partnership and number of other areas. Over the years we will be partnering with Administration of the Government of Georgia, as well as the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health and few other institutions. The reason of this meeting is for us to ensure the agenda along with the Government’s priorities,” said Deputy Head of GGI David Stonehill. (

Public Defender Takes Surveillance Regulation to Constitutional Court

Georgian Public Defender has filed a lawsuit in the Constitutional Court against a clause in law on electronic communications, which allows the security agencies to retain direct access to telecom operators’ networks.

In late November Parliament passed government-backed package of legislative amendments, allowing the Interior Ministry to retain its direct access to telecom operators’ servers, but at the same time giving the office of personal data protection inspector the right to electronically authorize law enforcement agencies’ lawful interception of communications once there is a relevant court warrant. But, as opponents say, as long as the Interior Ministry keeps operating ‘black box’ spy devices in telecom operators’ networks, it can easily circumvent personal data protection inspector and launch unlawful surveillance.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili vetoed the bill, but the Parliament overrode the veto on November 30.

“The Public Defender believes that the right of state agencies to have uninterrupted capability to copy metadata [records of which phone number calls which other number, when the calls are made and how long they last] and to receive content of communication in real time violates the right privacy, envisaged by the paragraph 1 of the article 20 of the Georgian Constitution,” the Public Defender’s Office said on February 2.

It said that lawsuit in the Constitutional Court was filed on January 30. (

Ministry of Economy launches negotiations with EFTA

The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development is taking another important step after enacting the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the European Union.

The Ministry is launching negotiations on signing the free trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which unites Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

According to the Ministry, a second session of the joint committee of cooperation between Georgia and the European Free Trade Association will be held in Tbilisi today.

Terms of the EFTA-Georgia free trade negotiations will be discussed at the meeting. A positive decision was adopted about launching talks with Georgia at the EFTA Ministerial in Geneva on 17 November 2014 by the Georgian side's request, the Ministry says. (IPN)

Bank of Georgia branch robbed in Tbilisi

One of the branches of "Bank of Georgia", which is located on Noneshvili Street, Mukhiani district, Tbilisi, has been robbed.

According to reports, the attacker was armed.

Details of this accident are unknown.

An investigation is underway under article 179 of the Criminal Code of Georgia. (Frontnews)