- Europe-Georgia Institute congratulates Vatican on their National Holiday – Anniversary of the election of Pope Francis.
- Europe-Georgia Institute congratulates partner liberal parties VVD and D66 on their excellent results in the parliamentary elections. We wish them good luck in leading the country during this crisis.
- We express our deepest condolences on the death of Dato Papa – a person who refused to leave and stayed on the occupied side of the wire, the embodiment of Russian occupation. He is yet another victim of Russian occupation of Georgian territory.
Irakli Gharibashvili took part in the EU-Georgia Association Council meeting in Brussels
Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili visited Brussels to participate in the 6th session of the EU-Georgia Association Council on March 15. While Irakli Gharibashvili was visiting Brussels, negotiations between the opposition and the government were held under the mediation of Christian Danielsson. During the visit, the Prime Minister met EU Commissioner Oliver Varhei. Gharibashvili and Varhei discussed the situation in the region and the need for proactive steps by the EU amid growing Russian influence, as well as the political crisis in Georgia and the importance of reaching a compromise. The Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, EU High Representative for Security Policy Joseph Borrell and EU Commissioner Oliver Varheim held a joint press conference on March 16. Borrell noted that at this crucial moment, the government has a special responsibility. However, boycotting the parliament is not the solution.
An agreement was not reached between the opposition and the government through EU mediation
Christian Danielsson, Special Representative of the President of the European Council, arrived in Georgia on March 12 and was scheduled to leave the country on March 14. However, he later decided to extend the visit, saying the parties needed more time to reach a consensus.
Charles Michelle’s Special Representative Christian Danielsson held meetings with the authorities and main opposition parties, which received seats in parliament according to the results of the October 2020 elections. The format of the meetings was different and aimed at bringing the positions of the parties closer. The last meeting on March 18 lasted for 9 hours and ended in vain. However, the politicians who left the meeting again avoided talking about the details of the failed agreement, as there is still hope for the continuation of the dialogue. “Ultimately, the responsibility for resolving the current political crisis lies with Georgia’s political leaders. “This is essential for the democratic consolidation of the country and
European aspirations,” Christian Danielsson said. “Once again, the West has seen whom they are dealing with,” Giorgi Vashadze, the leader of the “Strategy Builder”, stated after the meeting. “The opposition was in favour of an agreement and a constructive attitude, but the attitude of the Georgian Dream in this process would in no way achieve the result of an agreement,” he added.
Khatuna Samnidze, the leader of the Republican Party, blamed the Georgian Dream for the failure of the next round of talks and said that the ruling party was not ready to take its share of responsibility. For his part, Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Georgian Dream ruling party, accused the opposition of disrupting the talks, saying that “it was [their] intention not to reach an agreement.” According to him, the opposition issued “ultimatums” aimed at “trampling” on the rule of law. Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze said the opposition had given priority to “important issues for several parties” rather than “important issues for society and Georgia.”
Some details of the agreement were announced on March 19 by representatives of various opposition parties. “Georgian Dream suggested that if they won less than 40% of the local elections, early elections would be called,” said Aleko Elisashvili, leader of the Citizens party. Zurab Japaridze, the leader of “Girchi – For More Freedom” responded to the end of the talks in vain through a Facebook post. He said the government was not ready for a free proportional election, a real reform of the justice system, or the introduction of fair staffing of election commissions. The leader of the “Labor party” Shalva Natelashvili left the negotiating table ahead of time. He said on TV Pirveli that the government had offered the opposition the post of chairman of five parliamentary committees in exchange for entering parliament and that parliamentary elections would be held in 2024. Georgian Dream doesn’t confirm that proposal.
A hearing on Georgia will be held in the US Senate Committee
The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on support for Georgian democracy. The session will be chaired by Senator Jeanne Shaheen. The speakers will be the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State – George Kent from the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and Cara MacDonald from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Georgia Starts COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout
On March 15, 2021, the vaccination against coronavirus started in Georgia. NCDC Deputy Director Paata Imnadze was one of the first to be vaccinated. Besides, doctors from the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Marina Ezugbaia and Marina Endeladze, were also vaccinated. the President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili was vaccinated On March 18 on a live broadcast. On March 18 a 27 year-old nurse – Megi Bakradze went into anaphylactic shock 30 minutes after she received a vaccine. Unfortunately on March 19, the nurse passed away.
According to the total data of March 19, 3642 health workers were vaccinated against coronavirus in Georgia. 43,200 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine were introduced in Georgia on March 13 and it is intended for medical staff.