Draft EU-Georgia Association Agenda highlights need for ‘ambitious’ reforms – Civil.ge
The European Commission’s Draft EU-Georgia Association Agenda states that promoting “Georgia’s democratic agenda and rule of law through ambitious political, judicial and anti-corruption reforms in the framework of a broad and inclusive process will be at the heart” of cooperation in 2021-2027.
Overall, the Long Draft builds on the previous Association Program 2017-2020 and outlines the main goals of political association and economic integration between the two sides. The document defines the short and medium term priorities in the areas of justice, human rights, economy, environment, among others.
The document pledges EU support for Georgia to implement the goals and priorities, but stresses that “EU assistance is tied to jointly agreed stringent conditions linked to reform progress”.
The European Union delegation to Georgia said on May 24 that the document had already been “approved” by the parties and was awaiting formal adoption.
Here are some of the highlights of the document:
Rule of law, justice reform
The proposed agenda stresses that Georgia must continue to undertake judicial reforms through an “inclusive and multi-party reform process”, with the High Council of Justice – the oversight body of the judiciary – being a priority.
The document also highlights the need for Georgia to align its Common Courts Law with the recommendations of the Venice Commission and to “fully implement the revised law” to all future judicial appointments.
It obliges Georgia to carry out an evaluation of the effectiveness of the third and fourth waves of judicial reform. It was also a provision of the EU-brokered April 19 deal between the Georgian Dream and the opposition in 2021, which the ruling party unilaterally Stop later.
According to the document, Georgia needs to review the process for appointing the Attorney General to strengthen the independence and the prosecutor’s office.
In this context, the draft agenda envisages introducing qualified majority voting in Parliament with an anti-deadlock mechanism to let the Attorney General pass, a provision of the EU-brokered deal on which the GD backtracked.
The document also stresses that Georgia will pursue “ambitious progress in the fight against corruption and economic crime, including all forms of corruption, and will strengthen mechanisms for the prevention of corruption, including in the area of public procurement”. .
It also stresses the need to further strengthen “the accountability and democratic control of law enforcement agencies”.
The draft agenda dictates that Georgia “will uphold the freedom, independence and pluralism of the media, respecting European and international standards, ensuring the conditions for a free, professional, independent and healthy media environment” .
It also notes that Georgia “will ensure the highest democratic standards throughout the electoral process, a fair, transparent and rigorous handling of complaints and appeals, and will continue to fully implement the priority recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR… »
The document states that Georgia and the EU will “promote good governance, human rights, rule of law, non-discrimination as well as fundamental values and humanitarian principles in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 19 and the repeat after it”.
In addition, the country should foster an enabling civil society environment for organizations by supporting their financial viability and development, especially at the local level, the draft program says.
The section also underlines the need for better implementation of the anti-discrimination law and adds that an effective process for the rapid investigation of alleged breaches is essential.
The parties will maintain their cooperation to support Georgia in its efforts to advance in the peaceful and lasting resolution of the conflict and to facilitate “lasting peace and security” in the country, the document states.
The EU and Georgia will cooperate to promote the implementation of the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 with Russia as well as to achieve “tangible results” within the framework of the international discussions in Geneva, co-chaired by the EU, the UN and the OSCE.
As part of the agenda, the country is expected to work towards resuming meetings of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) in Gali and efficient operation of the Ergneti IPRM.
The document also sets out several steps for Georgia to take, including continuing efforts to ensure the “safe, dignified and voluntary” return of displaced persons to occupied Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, as well as the continued promotion of freedom of movement, trade, economic ties and education across demarcation lines.
In the meantime, the EU and Georgia will deepen their dialogue on defense and security, including conflict prevention, the fight against terrorism and the fight against money laundering, organized crime and illicit drugs. , indicates the draft agenda.
Economy, Environment, Digitization
The agenda highlights the need for continued economic development and integration between Georgia and the EU, with a focus on reducing inequalities in the country and improving working conditions, between others.
It also underlines the need for cooperation to strengthen transport, energy and digital connectivity between the EU and Georgia, in particular via the Black Sea.
The document also stresses that Georgia should work towards reducing emissions and submit a long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and update update its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in accordance with the Paris Agreement.
Greater attention should also be given to promoting sustainable agriculture and fisheries with the aim of preserving the existing biodiversity in the Black Sea region and Georgia as a whole, the document asserts.
It also notes that Georgia will prioritize more environmentally friendly legislation, with emphasis on improving waste management and air and water quality, in line with standards Europeans.
The document notes that the EU and Georgia will work towards the digital transformation of the country in the areas of e-health, distance education, telemedicine, virus tracking, among others.
Furthermore, he notes that the parties will work together to strengthen Georgia’s cyber resilience and to ensure legal, policy and operational cybersecurity frameworks in the country, in line with EU legislation and practices.
The draft Association Agenda for 2021-2027 comes as Georgia also waits for the European Commission to deliver its opinion on the country’s bid for EU membership in June, with EU leaders expected to take the decision on the bid at the Madrid summit on June 29-30.
Georgia filed its formal application for EU membership on March 3, the same day Moldova also filed, with both countries following in the footsteps of Ukraine, which applied for membership amidst the crisis. bloody invasion of Russia.
Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova are countries associated with the EU, under the bloc’s Eastern Partnership initiative. The three countries established the Trio Associé format in May 2021, aimed at cooperate to establish closer relations with Brussels.
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