Two days before the Eastern Partnership Summit, the civil society organised a conference in Riga to discuss Georgia’s progress of implementation of the Association Agenda with the European Union so far. The event was organised by the Georgian and Latvian chapters of Transparency International (TI Georgia and Delna) and Open Society Georgia Foundation. Some of the big questions panelists to tackle were: Has Georgia completed its homework before the Riga Summit? What lies ahead in EU-Georgia relations? What is the future of the Eastern Partnership?
At the event, Georgian civil society presented the monitoring results of Georgia’s efforts to fulfill requirements of the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union and the corresponding Association Agenda, which guides the implementation of the AA. Policy briefs were launched and presented for the first time by the Georgian civil society organisations. Areas monitored include: judicial reform, anti-corruption policies and protection of human rights – women’s, children’s, trade unions’ and prisoners’ rights. Representatives of the Georgian government responsible for these sectors commented on the findings of the monitoring and engage in a discussion with the event participants.
Keti Khutsishvili, Executive Director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) said that the goal of the monitoring effort is to enhance accountability of the government of Georgia to implement the Association Agreement and push for more reforms: “Georgian civil society views the EU-Georgia Association Agreement as a modernisation plan for the country. The EU is our important ally in pushing for reforms in the challenging environment in Georgia.”
The first panel of the conference explores the Association Agenda as an instrument for development for Eastern Partnership countries and the future of Europe. Distinguished panelists included: Head of the Eastern Partnership Bilateral Division at the European Commission Dirk Schuebel, Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia Viktors Makarovs and the Chair of the European Affairs Committee of the Latvian Parliament Lolita Čigāne. The panel was moderated by Andris Gobiņš, President of the European Movement – Latvia, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee.
The second and third panels continued to discuss Georgia’s efforts and challenges in fulfilling the political part of the Association Agenda. “The NGOs presented here are real leaders in their areas of work. We often criticise the government for their policies; however, there are some issues where we have the same opinion and such an issue is bringing our country closer to the EU and NATO,” – says Ms. Eka Gigauri, Executive Director of the Transparency International Georgia.
The Georgian government represented by the First Deputy Minister of Justice Aleksandre Baramidze, First Deputy State Minister of Euro-Atlantic Integration Archil Karaulashvili, Advisor to Prime Minister Sopio Japaridze, First Vice-Speaker of the Parliament Manana Kobakhidze, Deputy Director of the Reforms and Development Agency Valeri Lomuashvili and the Deputy Head of the International Relations Department of the Penitentiary Ministry Kakha Khandolishvili.
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To view the original Press Release click here.
To view the Conference Agenda click here.