The presentation of the 2019-2020 Action Plan of the Parliament of Georgia for the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement took place on April 15th in the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Tbilisi.
2019-2020 AA Implementation Action Plan of the Parliament of Georgia
By Inga Kakulia
Tuesday, April 16
Tamar Khulordava, Chairperson of the Committee on European Integration, opened the presentation and thanked the present Members of the Parliament, as well as Diplomats for attending the conference.
Khulordava stressed that despite the confident attitudes within the Committee, there is still a lot to be done in this regard.
The Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze. Addressed the attendants and thanked the representatives of the United Nations as well as the European Union.
Kobakhidze highlighted three major dimensions in which the future progress is expected. Legislation, Monitoring and raising awareness about the Europen Union. The chairman said that the dedication towards the improvement and alignment with the European standards is not just a verbal commitment; it’s a constitutional one. Kobakhidze noted that this action plan and its implementation would be of high importance. The Chairman stressed that the commitment to the European Integration is a rightful continuation of the beliefs for which fought the protestors of the 9 April. During his speech, Kobakhidze thanked the Civil Society Organizations that contributed to the improvement of the plan and actively participated in the process. This action plan will leave some positive changes for the future parliaments to build on.
Tamar Khulordava, stresses that Georgia has political and technical support from the European Union. The Chairperson of the European Integration Committee highlighted the increased importance of parliament and the need to pursue foreign policy goals openly.
The Head of Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, Carl Hartzell, also spoke at the conference and congratulated the parliament on the “Truly Comprehensive and robust plan.” Mr. Hartzell highlighted the importance of the fifth EU-Georgia Association Council and the generally positive feedback. “Georgia progressively realizes the potential of the Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement (DCFTA), We can comfortably say that we see tangible results. In 2017 there were 400,000 beneficiaries to the visa-free travel. The Number of Companies exporting increased.
Mr. Hartzell also noted that these Achievements would not be possible without the active participation of civil society and the efforts of the Parliament.
During his speech, Mr. Hartzell also touched on the shortcomings and called for the parliament to set up clear rules for the election process for Supreme Judges, as well as to address the flaws in the previous presidential elections. The Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia said he was impressed with the determined communication strategies on Georgia’s part and expressed that the EU will continue to support the work of Georgian Government.
Louisa Vinton, UNDP Resident Representative in Georgia also delivered a small speech at the conference and said that this action plan provides the strategic vision and gives the committees tools to coordinate their activities. The UN Representative urged the attendants to look at the Association Agreement as a way to improve the lives of Georgian people and not only as a way towards the accession to the EU.
After the general introduction of the plan, The heads of various committees discussed what they deemed to be the most important topics in the 2019-2020 action plan.
The Head of the Education, Science and Culture committee, Mariam Jashi, stressed that the main objective is to align the Georgian Education System with the European Model, specifically the higher and Vocational Education as well as monitoring these changes.
During his speech, the Chairperson of the Agrarian Issues Committee, Otari Danelia, focused on the importance of overseeing the legal harmonization process and post-legislative scrutiny of normative acts in the sanitary and phytosanitary field.
Sopo Kiladze, The Chairperson of Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee, talked about the urgent need for change in the Labor Code of Georgia. The Chairperson announced that in the September of this year a monitoring team would be launched to ensure the proper implementation of the Labor Code.
Chairperson of Healthcare and Social Issues Committee, Akaki Zoidze focused on two main topics. The Law of Georgia on Tobacco Control and the Legislation of Georgia on pharmaceutical activity.
Environment protection and natural resources committee Chairperson, Kakhaber Kuchava underlined The Forest Code of Georgia and the Amendments to the Law of Georgia on Ambient Air Protection as two of the most important topics to focus on.
According to Kuchava, Georgia is moving towards the sustainable management of forests and structural changes are on their way and the most recent report about Air Pollution will be available to the public in the following days.
The Chairperson of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee, Roman Kakulia highlighted the importance of working on the Law on Energy and Water Supply as well as The Law on Energy Efficiency. Mr Kakulia talked about the importance of encouraging the production of renewable energy.
“An important topic to work on in this regard is the Impact of prices on the population and the commercial actors. We try to maximize the regulations during the work process, which will further assist us in opening up the market, attracting investments and increasing energy security,” he noted.
Kakulia also touched on the legislation of Georgia on Competition. According to the Chairperson, the existing Competition agency isn’t fully equipped to respond to the current challenges in this field; therefore the Government of Georgia should work towards creating a legal framework that will allow the fair competition on the market.