PACE to discuss dismissing its president in October

by | June 30, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will discuss a proposal to dismiss its chairperson in early October after a motion was tabled on Friday. The motion to dismiss PACE President Pedro Agramunt was backed by 158 out of the 636 member


Georgia isn’t implementing law it passed in return for visa-free travel to Europe

by | April 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia passed a law against discrimination three years ago, and in return the European Union gave its citizens visa-free travel to Europe. But the local human rights watchdog now says the anti-discrimination law is not being fully implemented.


Georgians celebrate start of visa-free travel to Europe

by | March 28, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were celebrations in the capital Tbilisi on Monday as Georgian nationals may travel without a visa to Europe's vast borderless Schengen area from March 28. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili was among government officials who attended a two


EU denies link between Georgia visa waiver and refugee centers proposal

by | March 8, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of the European Unions executive branch denies that there is any connection between a proposal to host refugee centers in Georgia and the recent decision to allow visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian passport holders.


Georgia rejects idea of hosting refugee center for EU

by | March 7, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia distances itself from a controversial statement by the Austrian minister of foreign affairs, who proposed establishing refugees’ centers outside the borders of the EU, including in Georgia. “There are no plans to set up refugee camps


Georgian PM signs visa waiver document with EU

by | March 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--After years of negotiations, Georgia’s prime minister finally signed an agreement with the EU on Wednesday which gives his country’s citizens the right to visa-free travel to the Schengen area. The visa waiver plan will be published in the EU


EU gives final go-ahead for Georgians to enter Schengen without visa

by | February 28, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A visa waiver system for Georgian citizens was given the final approval by the EU Council on Monday, and now only formalities remain until 3.7 million citizens of the Caucasus nation can enjoy up to 90 days trips to Europe’s vast borderless Schengen area


Abkhazia suspicious of Georgia’s offer of visa-free travel to Europe

by | February 4, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia offers inhabitants in the breakaway region Abkhazia to be included in a visa waiver scheme to the Schengen area. Sukhumi calls the offer manipulation. The EU parliament on Thursday voted in favor of extending


EU parliament greenlights visa-free entry for Georgians

by | February 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The plan to extend visa-free entry into Schengen to more than 3 million citizens of the former Soviet republic of Georgia passed another hurdle today, as the EU’s parliament approved the plan with a clear majority. At a plenary session the 751 member assembly session endorsed


EU parliament committee approves visa-free access for Georgians

by | January 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--3.7 million Georgian nationals came one step closer to getting visa-free access to EU’s vast borderless Schengen area on Tuesday, as members of the LIBE committee in the EU parliament added their seal of approval to the plan. The Committee on Civil Liberties,


Council of the EU confirms agreement on visa-free travel for Georgians

by | December 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The prospect for Georgians to enter Europe without a visa came closer on Tuesday as the visa waiver agreement was approved by the Council of the EU’s Committee of Permanent Representatives, or COREPER. Tuesday’s decision


Martin Schulz optimistic about visa liberalization for Georgia

by | December 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili met President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz on Wednesday. Schulz is leaving EU politics when his term expires in January in order to focus on the federal elections in Germany next year,


Georgia’s Orthodox Church realizes it was wrong about EU and NATO

by | November 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Clergy from the Georgian Orthodox Church describe getting rid of some misconceptions about NATO and EU after a visit to Brussels last week. The unprecedented visit started November 7 with Georgian clergy meeting NATO's envoy for South Caucasus


Committee in EU parliament backs Georgia visa waiver program

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a vote on Monday, a majority in the EU Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) supported giving visa-free access to the Schengen area for Georgian citizen. 44 voted for lifting visa rules for Georgian citizens,


EU parliament discussing visa liberalization today

by | September 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A committee in the European Parliament will discuss today whether to offer visa-free travel to the Schengen area for Georgian and Ukrainian citizens, as well as citizens of Kosovo. Claude Moraes, head of the Civil Liberties, Justice and


EU’s Avramopoulos optimistic about visa-free travel for Georgians

by | April 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU’s commissioner for home affairs Dimitris Avramopoulos said Saturday that he is confident that the EU Parliament will support the proposed visa liberalization for Georgia. After meeting with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the commissioner


Georgians, please behave well in Europe: justice minister

by | March 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani called on her country’s citizens not to shame themselves after the visa liberalization comes into force and the borders of Schengen will be open for Georgians. Tsulukiani told journalists after


EU Commission proposes visa-free travel to Schengen for Georgians

by | March 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Commission on Wednesday proposed to lift visa requirements for Georgian citizens. If approved by the Union’s legislative bodies, Georgians may be able to visit the Schengen area without a visa from this summer.


EU Commission approves visa-free travel for Georgians

by | December 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Commission announced Friday that Georgia has fulfilled a stepwise plan toward visa liberalization. This could mean that as early as in mid 2016, Georgian citizens will be able to travel without a visa to countries in the Schengen area, which apart


Georgian PM accuses Saakashvili party of undermining visa liberalization

by | November 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister has accused opposition MPs of influencing members of the European Parliament to not accept visa-free travel for Georgian citizens as long as the current government is in power. PM Irakli Garibashvili


Ukraine to sign free trade agreement with EU, despite Russia’s concerns

by | September 8, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ukraine intends to sign a free trade pact with the EU without further postponement, despite warnings from Russia, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said in Brussels on Monday. Ukraine’s foreign minister met with the EU Commissioner


Georgia remains optimistic about getting visa-free travel to EU

by | May 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian government officials remain optimistic about visa liberalization with the EU, while EU officials say Georgia is not yet ready for visa free rules. The Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga opened yesterday, and even though there were hopes earlier,


EU parliament ratifies association agreement with Georgia

by | December 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--With 490 votes against 76 and 57 absentees European Parliament Thursday approved EU-Georgia’s Association Agreement and adopted a resolution about Georgia with 491 votes against 84 and 63 absentees. The current Georgian president and his

Europe, News

Ukraine support rallies in three Georgian cities

by | October 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ukraine support rallies were held in three different Georgian cities on Wednesday. They were organized by the National Platform, which is an umbrella organization uniting more than a hundred non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Rallies were held

Europe, News

Georgia begins free trade with EU

by | September 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A free trade agreement between Georgia and the European Union came into force today, September 1. This means that Georgian product may be exported to Europe without customs fee. Free trade was part of an association agreement Georgia signed with

Europe, News

Delayed ratification of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine’s EU treaties

by | August 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two members of the European Parliament on Wednesday called on member states to accelerate the ratification of the association agreements signed with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in June. Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed association agreements

Europe, News

Georgian parliament expected to ratify EU treaty Friday

by | July 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament will vote on whether to ratify the Association Agreement with the European Union on Friday. Several prominent European politicians are expected to attend the vote, including Bulgarian Foreign Minister Kristian Vigenin, Latvian

Europe, News

Romania ratified EU agreements with Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

by | July 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--As the first EU member state, Romania on Thursday ratified Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova’s association agreements with the Union. Leaders of the three countries in Europe’s southeast signed the agreements at a ceremony in Brussels on June

Europe, News

New treaty between EU and Georgia finally signed

by | June 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia on Friday signed the Association Agreement with the EU in Brussels. The 1,135 page document was signed by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, EU Council President Herman van Rompuy, EU Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso, and heads of state of all EU’s 28 members.

Europe, News

Georgia signs association agreement with the EU

by | June 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia today signs the association agreement with the EU at 09:00 in Brussels. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and the rest of the Georgian delegation arrived on Thursday. At Place du Luxembourg, Georgians have gathered together with

Europe, News

Georgia plans concert to celebrate new EU treaty

by | June 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia plans to hold a big outdoors concert in the capital to celebrate the signing of a treaty with the European Union on June 27. Georgian singers from Europe and from Georgia will perform at the concert, which will also feature

Europe, News

Barroso: Georgia doesn’t have to choose between East and West

by | June 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso Thursday arrived in Georgia on the second leg of his visit to countries on Russia’s southwestern perimeter. Barroso said the Association Agreement Georgia is to sign on June 27 is not ‘exclusive’,

Europe, News

Merkel meets premiers of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova

by | May 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The prime ministers of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine on Wednesday met with Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel in Germany. “We would like people to know that which road to choose, and our meeting today is held exactly for this [purpose],”

Europe, News

Georgia to sign EU treaty June 27

by | May 14, 2014

TBILILSI, DFWatch--Georgia will sign an association agreement with the EU on June 27. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili announced the date at a meeting with Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. “We received confirmation that Georgia will sign the

Europe, News

Georgian president speaks at EU Eastern Partnership summit

by | April 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili Thursday met with his Czech colleague Milos Zeman during a visit to Prague. Mergvelashvili came to take part in the five year summit of the Eastern Partnership, a political effort by the EU to reform six former

Europe, News

Margvelashvili to speak at Eastern Partnership summit

by | April 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has left for Prague to participate in the five year anniversary summit of the Eastern Partnership. According to president administration, Giorgi Margvelashvili will hold a speech at the summit on April 25.

Europe, News

Georgia on top of EU visa rejection list

by | April 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is on top of a list of former Soviet countries from where the highest number of people get their visa application rejected by the EU. For each country in EU’s Eastern Partnership plus Russia, the Schengen visa rejection rate in 2013 was:

Europe, News

Georgia expects visa free travel with Schengen by 2016

by | April 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government hopes its country's citizens will be able to travel to Schengen countries visa free from 2016 at the latest. Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili said on Monday that he hopes to see the first phase

Europe, News

Georgia’s EU treaty will be signed by the prime minister

by | March 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--When Georgia finally signs the Association Agreement with the EU by the end of June, it will be the prime minister who does the signing, not the president. Exactly who will sign the agreement - president or prime minister - has been a subject of

Europe, News

West warns Georgia against prosecuting Saakashvili

by | March 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Western partners are threatening that prosecuting former President Saakashvili may jeopardize an EU treaty and membership in NATO. Georgia has for years sought closer integration with the European Union and membership in NATO. In June,

Europe, News

EU speeds up signing of treaties with Georgia and Moldova

by | March 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Council accelerates the process of signing association agreements with two former Soviet republics, Georgia and Moldova. The move comes amid an escalating crisis in Ukraine, where there is a threat of unrest spreading in the eastern

Europe, News

Georgian parliament condemns Russia’s actions in Crimea

by | March 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Russia's deployment of military forces in Crimea, which it says is a threat to all of Europe. The resolution says Georgia became a victim of Russian military aggression in the war in 2008,

Europe, News

Presidents of Turkey and Georgia discussed Ukraine crisis

by | March 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The presidents of Georgia and Turkey have spoken on phone about the latest events in Ukraine. President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, and the Georgian President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, underlined the importance of supporting the territorial integrity

Europe, News

EUs Füle working ‘intensely’ on timetable for Georgia trade pact

by | March 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia says negotiations with the European Union about the schedule and procedures for signing the Association Agreement must be finished in March. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said this after meeting with Štefan Füle, European Commissioner

Europe, News

Demonstrations in support of Ukraine were held in Tbilisi

by | February 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians gathered at the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Sunday to pay tribute to those who died during the recent clashes in Ukraine. Activists also started a campaign to collect money to pay for treatment of those who were wounded. At least

Europe, News

Georgian president ‘completely shocked’ by events in Ukraine

by | February 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili says no government has ever been forgiven for using weapons against its own people. Margvelashvili said he was shocked by seeing footage from Thursday's events in Ukraine. “Events are developing in a tragic way in Ukraine, and we are completely shocked by what we have seen,” he said. He continued saying that if Viktor Yanukovich has political will instead of violent steps, there is a chance that the bloodshed will stop and there will be renewed dialogue in Ukraine. Armed confrontation can be transformed into a political process. “I express hope that the top leader of Ukraine will take political steps and follow calls from world leaders in order to avoid a very difficult and painful confrontation in the country,” he added.

Europe, News

Georgian parliament speaker met Hungary’s president

by | February 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili Friday met Hungarian President János Áder. The two discussed economy, Georgia’s integration with Europe and relations with Russia. Usupashvili is in Hungary together with a Georgian delegation

Europe, News

Romania supports Georgia’s EU and NATO aspirations

by | February 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Romanian Senate Monday passed a resolution supporting Georgia’s efforts toward integration with Europe and NATO. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili, who is visiting Romania with other Georgian politicians, was attending the senate as

Europe, News

Georgian PM Gharibashvili met Jose Manuel Barroso

by | February 4, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili met with President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso to speak about EU-Georgia cooperation, Georgia’s integration process with the EU.  Another topic was the deal with the EU Georgia approved

Europe, News

Ukraine support rally in Georgia’s Samegrelo region

by | January 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tens of people Saturday gathered in Zugdidi, a town in western Georgia’s Samegrelo region, to express solidarity with people in Ukraine. The crowd brought with them Ukrainian flags and Georgian flags and posters saying Freedom to Ukraine, Victory is

Europe, News

Carl Bildt hopes Georgia will sign EU pact in August

by | January 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt says he hopes Georgia will sign the Association Agreement with European Union in August. Bildt met with Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Ghrabishvili in Davos during the World Economic Forum and said afterward that

Europe, News

Georgian lawmakers express concern about violence in Ukraine

by | January 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia on Thursday passed a resolution expressing concern about the use of force against peaceful citizens in Ukraine. 118 representatives voted for, none voted against. The minimum number of votes to pass such a resolution is 60.

Europe, News

Georgia signs on to many new EU programs

by | December 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia Thursday signed a protocol with the EU about participating in several programs within health care, science, culture and business. The signing took place in Brussels and was carried out by Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius and

Europe, News

Georgians rallied in support of Kyiv protesters

by | December 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Hundreds of people demonstrated in the streets of Tbilisi Wednesday to support the protesters in Kyiv. Georgians, as well as Ukrainians living in Georgia, gathered in the evening outside Tbilisi concert hall, waving the flags of Ukraine, EU and Georgia,

Europe, News

Georgian parliament declares support for Ukrainian people

by | December 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia Wednesday passed a statement supporting the demonstrations in the Ukrainian capital. "The Georgian parliament declares its complete solidarity with the Ukrainian people in its struggle for freedom of choice. It expresses

Europe, News

Supporters of Ukraine’s protesters gathered in Tbilisi

by | December 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Supporters of the protesters in Ukraine gathered Sunday in Tbilisi to support a mass mobilization in the Ukrainian capital. The gathering outside the former parliament building started at 14:00, the same time as the demonstration in Ukraine. Georgians

Europe, News

Saakashvili addressed Ukrainian pro-EU demonstrators

by | December 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili on Saturday addressed the protesters gathered in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv. His speech to the movement which started two weeks ago, when President Viktor Yanukovich refused to sign an Association Agreement with the

Europe, News

Georgian president says Russia cannot stop moves towards EU

by | December 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili says Russia has no means of influence that could divert Georgia from its course toward integration with Europe and interrupt the signing of the Association Agreement next year. In a TV interview on Tuesday,

Europe, News

Georgians defy frosty weather to support Ukraine

by | December 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--People gathered in Tbilisi again on Tuesday to show support for Ukraine despite the frosty temperatures and cold wind. About 50 people showed up outside the old parliament building carrying Ukrainian flags to express support for the Ukrainian people,

Europe, News

GUAM countries support EU’s Eastern Partnership

by | December 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliamentary Assembly of GUAM adopted a document during the sixth session in Tbilisi, which reflects major aspirations and goals, which the countries of the union have. The document also focuses on supporting the EU's Eastern Partnership. The sixth

Europe, News

Pro-Ukraine rally in Tbilisi again Monday

by | December 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--People rallied in Tbilisi again Monday in support of the Ukrainian people. As on Sunday, they gathered in front of the old parliament building, and vowed to continue protesting and also hold support rallies in other parts of Georgia. Participants

Europe, News

Rally in Tbilisi in solidarity with the Ukrainian people

by | December 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tens of people gathered on Sunday in Tbilisi wearing yellow and blue to support people in Ukraine and express solidarity with them after a violent dispersal in Kyiv. "Our Ukrainian friends need support, they mustn’t be alone facing impudent violence,"

Europe, News

Margvelashvili: Looking forward to EU’s support

by | November 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In his less than two minutes long address at the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit President Giorgi Margvelashvili spoke briefly about the country’s past, present and future on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration. After recalling the democratic election

Europe, News

Georgia through first step toward Association Agreement with EU

by | November 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU and Georgia on Friday finished the first signing of the Association Agreement. The proceedings took place in Vilnius during the summit there of the EU's Eastern Partnership. The agreement was signed by the Union's foreign policy spokesperson

Europe, News

Margvelashvili to address European leaders in Vilnius

by | November 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili will be given three minutes to address the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius today. He is expected to talk about the importance of Georgia being integrated with Europe, and that a certain resistance

Europe, News

Georgia’s Association Agreement with EU through the technical part

by | November 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The technical part of the initialization of Georgia's Association Agreement with the EU is finished, and tomorrow is the official part of the proceedings. Attending Thursday's event in Vilnius were, from Georgia, Deputy Foreign Minister Davit

Europe, News

Georgian MPs don Ukrainian flags in show of support

by | November 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--National Movement MPs on Wednesday came to parliament wearing Ukrainian flags as tie and with Ukrainian flags on their desks. They did it to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The speaker of parliament liked the idea and asked to give him one too.

Europe, News

Georgia to initialize Association Agreement with EU on Friday

by | November 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will initialize its Association Agreement with the EU on November 29 as leaders of the EU and countries in the Eastern Partnership meet in Vilnius. Davit Zalkaliani, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, will initialize the agreement by signing

Europe, News

EU Commission evaluates Georgia’s visa action plan

by | November 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Commission is satisfied with how Georgia has completed first phase of a visa action plan which might lead to visa free travel with the EU. The evaluation is particularly important because compliance with the action plan is expected to be

Europe, News

Georgia preparing to initiate Association Agreement

by | November 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Association Agreement with the EU will be initiated by Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani during the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius November 28-29. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said this on Monday. The text of the agreement,

Europe, News

Georgia seeking support for EU integration in Baltics

by | November 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili yesterday finished a one week visit to Lithuania and Latvia. He said Georgia's friends are ready to support its integration with Europe at the summit of the Eastern Partnership’s in Vilnius November 28-29,

Europe, News

Bildt and Sikorski encourage Georgia’s EU integration

by | October 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Wednesday met with the foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland. The meeting was closed to the media, but a joint press conference was held afterward. The PM said the guests were interested in the ongoing political

Europe, News

EU spokesman: Georgia will not join the Eurasian Union

by | October 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A spokesman for EU's delegation to Georgia says although Russia has increased its pressure on Eastern Partnership countries, there is no risk that Georgia will join the Eurasian Union, because the Georgian government’s stance is clear. In 2010, the

Europe, News

Some challenges with EU’s simplified visa procedures

by | September 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new study shows that there are some challenges with the visa facilitation agreement Georgia has with the European Union. The agreement has led to a considerably simpler procedure for Georgians who want to travel to EU, as the number of documents

Europe, News

EU expert team to evaluate Georgia’s visa action plan

by | September 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Commission is sending a team of experts to Georgia in mid-October in order to evaluate the implementation of the action plan for visa liberalization, according to Georgia's Foreign Affairs Ministry. This was the outcome of

Europe, News

Saakashvili: Government is worsening relations with EU

by | July 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Saakashvili accuses the government of worsening relations with the EU and claims that the signing of an association agreement with the EU has been removed from the schedule of the Vilnius summit. Tamar Beruchashvili, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister,

Europe, News

Füle hopeful about Georgia getting association agreement

by | July 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU Commissioner Štefan Füle is hopeful about Georgia's chances of signing an association agreement with the EU at the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November. Füle is visiting Georgia and today met with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili

Europe, News

EU enlargement commissioner continues Georgia tour

by | July 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Štefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, is in Georgia and has met with the president and members of the parliamentary opposition. After meeting with President Mikheil Saakshvili, the EU's enlargement

Europe, News

Council of Europe did not discuss ‘deteriorating situation’ in Georgia

by | June 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, PACE, did not go through with an announced discussion about the ‘deteriorating situation’ in Georgia. During the session which is ongoing in Strasbourg a majority of 73 members voted against

Europe, News

EU Day marked in Georgia

by | May 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--May 9, “EU Day” was observed in its member countries. Also in Georgia, which is not a member, the day was celebrated with cultural events. A concert was held in Tbilisi by the initiative of the mayor. Diplomats and national minorities, as

Europe, News

Ivanishvili answered questions in Strasbourg

by | April 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Tuesday presented his government's plans for creating new jobs, amending the labor legislation and usher in new reforms to promote business. Mr Ivanishvili was speaking at a session of the Parliamentary

Europe, News

EU rewards Georgia’s reforms with €22 million

by | December 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- EU is giving another €22 million to Georgia this year in recognition of its reform efforts. Stefan Fule, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy, on Wednesday attended the EU-Georgia Cooperation Council in Brussels.

Europe, News

Two Georgian leaders continue parallel visits

by | November 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two Georgian leaders representing different political parties are continuing their visit to Brussels, holding meetings with EU and NATO officials. President Mikheil Saakashvili is Tuesday meeting Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council,

Europe, News

Challenger’s plan: ‘Significant changes’, then leave

by | October 22, 2011

TBILISI, DFWatch - The man who challenges Saakashvili's power in Georgia will get rid of the current president's people and inoculate the country from something like this ever happening again, then leave office to join the opposition. For the first time speaking with Georgian press, businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili said he will fire the Interior Minister and all other key people in government. Then he will ask civil society to rewrite the country's constitution as a first priority, to prevent a Putin type eternal regime. He expects these changes to take two to three years, and after that he will step down. The course towards Nato membership remains, but he seeks to make amends with Russia. In a three and a half hour interview given to Ia Antadze from Radio Liberty and published Thursday on the website, Ivanishvili covers many of the country's pressing issues. He discusses his strategy for addressing the issue that a big part of Georgia’s territory is occupied by Russia while diplomatic relations between these two countries are practically severed. Considering all the mistakes made under Georgia’s previous presidents, ...

Elections, Europe, Legal reform, News, Politics

Political Tbilisi skeptical to proposed new election system

by | October 3, 2011

Work to improve the Georgian election environment has ended as a draft has been sent off to the Council of Europe's Venice Commission for review and the government promises that parliament will not start its review until the results of the review are clear. It's hard to say what the Venice Commission's conclusions will be and how well the government has anticipated its remarks. Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have already criticized the amendments to the draft law. In their view, this project does not include many substantive changes to improve the election environment. On the contrary, some sections make the situation even worse than it is today; or the vagueness of some regulations make it impossible to understand the different formulations. Last year when talks began to change the election law, it was said that reforms were needed in several areas: More transparency in the election itself, the monitoring process, changes regarding the handling og voters's lists, the election system, use of administrative resources, election financing, election administration, election disputes and sanctions for violations of the election law. The draft sent to the ...

Elections, Europe, Legal reform, News

Ruling party’s latest election law maneuver a setback for democracy

by | October 2, 2011

Three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are seriously concerned after the government's sudden changes to the draft for a new election law. Now that rights advocates have had time to look closer at the changes, which were worked out behind everyone's backs and revealed a week ago, their conclusion is that this is a disappointment to everyone who had been hoping for freer and fairer elections in Georgia. "The new changes to the Electoral Code do not improve the electoral process at all," Tamar Chugoshvili, chairman of Georgian Young Lawyer's Association, said as three NGOs presented their conclusions at Radisson Hotel Tbilisi on Friday. "On the contrary, the changes make the election process unclear," she said.   "The government won't be able to sell the changes as a part of the agreement with the opposition" --Mamuka Katsitadze, New Rights Party   Talks to change the election law started last year to accomodate critique from the Council of Europe's Venice Commission. But most opposition parties dropped out of the talks, and the government finally reached an agreement with only two opposition factions. Then the draft was sent off to ...

Europe, News

Privatization will not mean losing control, government guarantees

by | September 9, 2011

As Georgia makes a new push to find more investors who will have a stake in its most strategically important assets, like the post and railways, the state will keep a controlling share of the stocks. Chair of the financial budgetary committee, Zurab Melikishvili, made the promise today during a debate in parliament about a new law which will allow old state businesses to be listed on foreign stock markets. But Levan Vepkhvadze from the oppositional Christian Democrat party raised doubt over the guarantee, and reminded Melikishvili that the government has categorically refused to write such a guarantee into the new law proposal. Another opposition politician, Guram Chakhvadze from the National Democrat party, sided with the government during the exchange and pointed out that there is a separate law which says that 75% of national company of oil and gas companies must remain in state ownership. This law, however, does not cover important assets that are now up for sale to foreign investors, such as the Georgian Railways and the Georgian Post. (Source: Interpressnews.)

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