Nine members of the European Parliament, including Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman David McAllister, urged the Government of Georgia to respect the “final landmark” judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights on the case of former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, and called on the authorities to release him “with no delay.”
The letter, addressed to President Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze, was signed by five European People’s Party (EPP) members, two members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), and one MEP each from the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D).
“We, the undersigned members of the European Parliament, have been strong supporters of Georgia, its sovereignty, territorial integrity and the European choice of its people … Today, Georgia is viewed as one of the most advanced in the context of democracy among Eastern Partnership countries,” MEPs said in their letter. For this progress to continue, MEPs added, “it is important that the Georgian Government addresses some outstanding issues.”
The parliamentarians touched upon other issues as well, including the role of the Parliament of Georgia and the media landscape in the country.
“The role of parliament, but especially parliamentary scrutiny of the executive is a fundamental principle in every democracy. Prime Minister and ministers should not be avoiding parliamentary scrutiny. Opposition, including its ability to fundraise and compete, should be treated in line with standards to which Georgia aspires,” reads the letter.
The MEPs also emphasized that “It is important Georgia preserves the pluralistic media landscape that offers diversity of views to its citizens.” “We have followed the effort to change its ownership of Rustavi2, the country’s most popular TV channel, and taken note of concerns expressed by interlocutors such as the OSCE Representative on Media Freedom.”
“We remain committed supporters of Georgia and its democratic, European future. However, the responsibility of ensuring that Georgia’s progress continues primarily rests on those whom the Georgian people elected to govern their country,” the parliamentarians concluded.
MP Giorgi Kandelaki of the European Georgia party, which published the letter on December 16, expressed his hope that the Government of Georgia would “treat this important signal from Brussels with respect.” “MEPs write in the letter that it is in Georgia’s interest to close this chapter of history and think together about the future and not about the past,” Kandelaki noted.