Carl Hartzell criticizes the government for not fulfilling the April 19 agreement
“The April 19 agreement is still a guide for deepening democracy and making progress on Georgia’s path to Europe. I will not say that this is the only way, but it is one of the most reliable ways,” said EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzell.
The statement was made by Carl Hartzell before the presentation of the report about the fulfillment of the agreement – “The Way Ahead for Georgia” by four non-governmental organizations.
The Open Society Foundations – Georgia, which has worked on the rule of law and judicial reform, said that the ruling party was refusing to meet its commitments and that decisions on the rule of law and judicial reform were being made “behind closed doors”.
Georgia’s score in the Democracy Index is deteriorating
According to a report published by The Economist Intelligence Unit on February 10, Georgia’s score in the Democracy Index is deteriorating for the fourth year in a row, falling from 10 points to 5.12 points in 2021. The country maintains 91st place among 167 countries and remains in the category of “hybrid regime”.
In terms of the five specific measures that make up the average score, Georgia received the lowest, 3.57 points for the functioning of the government, 3.75 for political culture, 5.29 for civil liberties, 5.56 for political participation, and 7.42 for electoral process and pluralism.
The report also reviews the October 2021 local elections and, based on international observers, states that there were irregularities in the elections. The document notes that the ruling party enjoyed significant financial and other advantages, which hampered electoral competition and transparency.
As things stand currently, Georgia is one of the four “hybrid regimes” in eastern Europe, sharing the category with neighboring Armenia and Ukraine — which both again topped Georgia in the global ranking of 2021, taking the 89th and 86th places, respectively.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia does not call on Georgians to leave Ukraine
On February 12 the Georgian Foreign Ministry said that the ministry did not call on Georgian diplomats and citizens to evacuate from Ukraine but offered “logistical and information support” to citizens wishing to leave the country.
According to the Ministry, the Embassy and Consulates of Georgia are working in “emergency mode”. The Foreign Ministry calls on the citizens of Georgia to “take into account the difficult security environment.”
On February 12, US citizens in Ukraine were urged by President Joe Biden to leave the country “immediately.” Similar statements have been made by Britain, Norway, South Korea, Japan, Israel, Latvia and other countries.
Cabinet Reshuffle in Georgia
On February 9 Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili announced at a special briefing that Natia Turnava, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, will be replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environment and Agriculture. Otar Shamugia will be the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture.
“We have made a cabinet reshuffle. Levan Davitashvili has been appointed Minister of Economy. Levan was a successful Minister of Environment and Agriculture. He has served the Ministry and the country faithfully for the last 5 years and has implemented many important reforms. He is an economist, has a significant knowledge and by now he has also gained big experience. I believe he will be a successful minister of Economy and Sustainable development. Levani is also Vice-Prime Minister and he will remain on that position too.” – said the Prime-minister.
Natia Turnava has been heading the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia since April 2019.