On November 9, the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association hosted an online panel discussion, "Impact of 2021 Local Self-Government Elections on EU-Georgia Relations." Vakhushti Menabde, Director of the Democratic Institutions Support Program at the Georgian Young Lawyers` Association, and H.E.
Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia, delivered the opening remarks. The Ambassador stressed the importance of Georgia to carry out democratic reforms in a timely and effective manner and the need for the ruling party to fulfill its obligations that are taken in this regard under the Association Agreement and the Charles Michel Document.
The discussion was followed by the members of the European Parliament: Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, Anna Fotyga, Marina Kaljurand, and Jordi Solé. They assessed the results of the 2021 local self-government elections and the general pre-election environment, addressed the high level of political polarization in the country, the recent events related to the arrest and hunger strike of Georgia's third president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and shared their insights regarding the possible solutions for the ongoing political crisis.
The MEPs emphasized that proper implementation of the Association Agreement commitments, reduction of political polarization, and restoration of the normal functioning of political institutions are essential for the country`s democratic development and European integration. The MEPs reiterated the readiness of the EU for the full engagement in the process of implementing reforms aimed at the improvement of democracy in Georgia, however, they indicated as well that both the government and the political parties must be able to carry out democratic reforms and resolve the political crisis on their own.
Dr. Tinatin Akhvlediani, a research fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), moderated the discussion.
The recording of the discussion can be accessed at the following link: https://fb.watch/9a1Kgb10sf/