The MEPs cancelled their visit due to the lack of time of the Speaker of the Parliament

Jean Monnet’s dialogue facilitator MEPs Viola von Cramon, Marina Kaljurand and Miriam Lexmann said that their visit to Georgia, scheduled for January 21-22, had been cancelled due to the lack of the time of the Speaker of Parliament Shalva Papuashvili.

The statement came amid strained relations between the Georgian Dream government and Brussels over several issues, including the appointment of Supreme Court justices and members of the High Council of Justice, the refusal of an EU loan and Georgia’s alleged surveillance of Western diplomats.

In a statement issued on January 21, the three MEPs said that “the visit was aimed at exploring the possibility of launching a process of Jean Monnet’s dialogue, which aims to develop an inter-party dialogue to build a better parliamentary culture.”

The decision of the Speaker of the Parliament was followed by sharp assessments from the opposition. Batu Kutelia, a member of Droa, said that the MEPs were denied their visit with a completely unacceptable reason. According to the Foreign Secretary of the party “Lelo for Georgia”, Grigol Gegelia, “Georgian Dream” once again showed its true face when it postponed the meeting with MEPs due to lack or time or other comic reasons.

The Jean Monnet Dialogue is a parliamentary mediation and dialogue format developed by the European Parliament and launched in 2016. Three MEPs were selected in June 2021 to facilitate the “Jean Monnet Dialogue” process, following the April 19 agreement mediated by the European Union between the Georgian Dream and the opposition. The ruling party left the agreement unilaterally at the end of July.

Shalva Papuashvili was elected as a Speaker of Parliament of Georgia on December 29 after his predecessor Kakha Kuchava abruptly resigned.

An IDP from Abkhazia died as a result of jumping from a building

Zurab Chichoshvili, 52, an IDP from Abkhazia, jumped from the former Kartli sanatorium building in Tbilisi in protest and died. According to eyewitnesses, he was protesting against the delay in allocating new housing to about 120 families living in the damaged building of the former sanatorium.

The IDPs have been asking to be transferred to a new building for years. Protests erupted in December after a ceiling collapsed in one of the entrances to a Soviet-era sanatorium. Neighbours said Chichoshvili himself thought his death would help the evacuation process.

On January 17, the ombudsman’s office called on the agency to take appropriate measures to increase IDPs’ confidence in the process. The ombudsman’s office also noted that the agency had “unreasonably” refused to inspect the building’s technical stability. The Public Defender gave recommendations to the Agency on December 21, 2020 and requested a technical sustainability inspection of the building.

Elene Khoshtaria, leader of the party “Droa” requested a meeting with Zurab Azarashvili, Minister of Health to discuss the problems of IDPs. She said that herself, Giga Lemonjava(Member of “Droa” and a lawyer) and a representative of IDPs are ready to meet with him when it would be convenient for the minister.

According to the Ministry of Health, every IDP living in a former Sanatorium Kartli will receive apartments in 2022 without any conditions. 

According to the latest data 90 156 families are registered in the IDP base. approximately 43 826 of  them were given the apartments, which is only 48.6%. 

The opposition has elected the chairman of Tsalenjikha City Council

On January 20, opposition parties in Tsalenjikha Municipal Council elected Korneli Salia, a member of former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s party – For Georgia, as Council chairman. As a result of the secret ballot, Salia received 14 out of 15 opposition votes, and one vote was annulled. Georgian Dream members of the City Council did not take part in the voting.

After being elected to the new position, Salia said in an interview with Formula TV that he plans to nominate one member of the Georgian Dream, the National Movement and Lelo as deputies. As for the Sakrebulo commissions, he said that the majority of chairmans will be from the opposition, although several seats will be offered to the Georgian Dream.

Tsalenjikha is the only municipality where the mayor is a member of the opposition party, United National Movement, Giorgi Kharchilava.

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