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,
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
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,
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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’,
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],”
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
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
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.
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:
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
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
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,
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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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,
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,
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
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
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,"
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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,
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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,
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 Kalmasoba.ge, 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, ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.)