Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia responds to the demands of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia

On the 10th of December the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia made an announcement. Kremlin demanded to annul the decision of the Bucharest Summit, 2008, according to which Georgia and Ukraine will become members of NATO by all means.

The announcement was responded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers unacceptable the statement made by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, according to which the Russian Federation “considers it necessary to disavow the 2008 Bucharest Summit decision – that Georgia and Ukraine will become NATO members”. On April 3, 2008, at the NATO Bucharest Summit the leaders of the NATO member states decided that Georgia (and Ukraine) will become a NATO member. The above-mentioned is an extremely important, consensus-based political decision in line with the fundamental principle of international law that all states have the sovereign right to choose their own foreign policy course. Moreover, this decision is based on Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, according to which any European state, which will further the principles of the Treaty and contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area can become a member of NATO. NATO integration is a sovereign decision of Georgia, based on the unwavering will of the majority of the Georgian population. This goal is also enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia. 

It should be noted that the 2008 Bucharest Summit decision was reiterated at all consequent NATO summits held after 2008. Furthermore, NATO 2021 Brussels summit communiqué underscored that the Allies consider it unacceptable for any third party to interfere in the determination of the countries’ foreign policy priorities. According to all above-mentioned, any statement made by a third party regarding the revision of the Bucharest Summit decision, which is contrary to the fundamental principles and norms of international law, is unacceptable for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.” – wrote the MFA of Georgia.

President Zurabishvili has initiated an inclusive reconciliation process

Speaking at the Virtual Democracy Summit on December 10, Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili said: “I promise to embark on an inclusive process, a nationwide dialogue involving the whole community to gain a common understanding of recent history, overcome pain and move forward.”

The President invited representatives of the government and the opposition to a New Year reception at the Atoneli Presidential Palace on December 16. At the event, President Zurabishvili said that one of the goals of the reception was to “change the political atmosphere” in the country and “bring a new mood”

“We see young people leaving this country because no one wants to live in a country of hatred and bigotry, where they do not see opportunities for them,” she said.

The president’s initiative was met with mixed reviews. “If someone manages to get the UNM to admit guilt and get out of politics, the reconciliation attempt will be successful, but I do not think anyone will be able to do that,” said Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Georgian Dream. According to Levan Khabeishvili, a member of the United National Movement, he does not believe all the words of Salome Zurabishvili, but he positively assessed the act of giving this kind of statement by the President.

Despite the invitation, the chairman of the United National Movement, Nika Melia, the leader of Droa Elene Khoshtaria and the leader of Girchi-more Freedom, Zurab Japaridze did not attend the reception.

 

The government has introduced new regulations for the gambling business

The Parliament of Georgia approved a new draft law initiated by the government regulating the gambling business .

under the new regulations, the so-called GGR (Gross Gaming Revenue) will be taxed with 10%, Instead of the profit. Retained earnings will be taxed at a 2% income tax on the withdrawal. Overall, the tax base of the sector’s taxes will increase by 65% ​​-70%.

An age limit will be set for Georgian citizens for participating in gambling. Age limit will be 25 and will apply to both online games and terrestrial gaming facilities (age restriction does not apply to foreign citizens). Rules for depositing and withdrawing money to the gaming account, also, the rule of registration as a player will be regulated by a sub-legal act. In addition, the new regulations prohibit all television advertising of the gambling business, as well as outdoor advertising and placing advertisements on Georgian websites.

The head of the Gambling Business Association (GGA), Giorgi Mamulaishvili, presented the general position of the sector on the decision of the Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili to impose restrictions on gambling and online casinos. According to him, unless the government engages in a constructive dialogue with businesses, they will be forced to disconnect online bookmakers and refuse social and other projects, including sponsorship.

Nika Gvaramia, the founder of the Mtavari channel, while discussing the changes in the gambling advertising legislation in the parliament, said that with this regulation, the opposition channels are in danger of closing down. Gvaramia also noted that if the bill goes into effect, it will lose about 20% of its television revenue. Opposition channel leaders, hence, demanded the establishment of a transitional period so that the channels could adapt to the new reality.

In response to the new regulations, the party “For Lelo-Georgia” is initiating a three-year exemption from media taxes. The party explains that this offer is based on several factors, namely the problems created by Covid and the reduction of advertising revenues. Saba Buadze, a member of Lelo, said the initiative was on the agenda after the prime minister announced new regulations in the gambling business that would ban gambling advertising.

 

“Strategy Aghmashenebeli” became a member of ALDE

Strategy Agmashenebeli became a member of ALDE (Liberal Democratic Alliance for Europe). “Strategy Agmashenebeli” spread information about this.

ALDE brings together 70 different parties from 44 countries in  European region. Among the representatives of the ALDE political union are 69 MEPs. In the European Parliament, they, together with the party of French President Emmanuel Macron – “Forward Republic” – form a political group “Renew Europe”. “Renew Europe” is the third-largest political group in the European Parliament, after the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) and the Progressive Alliance of Left-centric Social Democrats (S&D).

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EGI Political Digest was created with support from Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC). The views and opinions expressed in this Digest are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of EGI or SILC.

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