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Statement by the PACE President on the outcomes of his working visit to Georgia and recent political developments in the country

PACE President Rik Daems and the Chairperson of the Georgian Parliament, Kakha Kuchava.
©Georgian Parliament

Ending his working visit to Georgia (27-28 July 2021), PACE President Rik Daems made the following statement:

"I wish to express my gratitude to the Georgian authorities and, in particular, to the Chairperson of the Georgian Parliament, Kakha Kuchava, and the head of the Georgian delegation to PACE, Irakli Chikovani, for welcoming me in Tbilisi and for the perfect organisation of the entire visit.

I spent two very busy days meeting the Prime Minister of Georgia, the Chairperson of the Parliament, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior and Justice, and the Chairpersons of the parliamentary committees, as well as representatives of the parliamentary majority and opposition. We discussed many important topics related to the role of the PACE in supporting democratic processes in Georgia and in addressing challenges faced by the country. I am extremely pleased with the outcomes of these discussions and I look forward to delivering on the action we agreed with the Georgian colleagues.

I also wish to use this occasion to thank the Georgian authorities for championing the issue of the environment and human rights as one of the priorities of their recent Presidency of the Committee of Ministers.

As mentioned in my communications while in Georgia, I strongly urge Georgian politicians from both the ruling and opposition parties to considerably lower the current level of confrontation and work together toward establishing a sustainable political dialogue. This is absolutely indispensable for finding a way out of the ongoing political crisis.

I regret however the decision of the Georgian Dream party to withdraw from the Charles Michel April 21 political agreement as this move will clearly not help in addressing existing problems in relations between the government and opposition. I equally regret the refusal of the main opposition parties (including the United National Movement) not to sign this agreement and I indeed tried to convince them to do so during my visit to Georgia.

I wish to invite both sides to reconsider their positions and return to a joint implementation of the agreement, specifically in the areas of electoral and judicial reforms, as well as in ensuring meaningful power-sharing in Parliament. I wish to encourage them to follow the advice of international friends of Georgia who aim to support and to strengthen the democratic process in the country. I urge the Georgian Parliament to take fully into consideration and to follow the opinions communicated to them by the Venice Commission on proposed legislation.

I strongly support the initiative of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to launch immediate consultation with the main actors with a view to bringing key players back to the April 21 Agreement, which at this stage remains the only viable mechanism for exiting the current political dead-end.

The meetings I held in Tbilisi on 27-28 July convinced me that the politicians in the country aim to do the best for Georgia and are capable of reconciling their differences to ensure a bright European future for the country. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe is of course ready to continue to support Georgia’s democratic development.

I also look forward to welcoming, as agreed during my visit, a complete Georgian PACE delegation (with opposition members) to the next session in September 2021, and I believe this will contribute positively to defusing the current political tension in the country."