Meeting Eastern Partnership Road Map Obligations

25 Oct, 2013

The Open Society Foundations from Georgia and Armenia presented the monitoring report on the actions taken towards the fulfillment of the country’s European aspirations and the existing challenges.

The report focuses on the implementation of the Eastern Partnership Roadmap in Armenia and Georgia.  

“Eastern Partnership Road Map” were adopted by both countries in May, 2012. The document comprises the reforms that the Governments should implement till the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, which is scheduled to be held in November 28-29, 2013.

The report addresses only political part of the obligations established under “Eastern Partnership Road Map”. Specifically, it looks at seven basic fields: Freedom of media, elections, fight against corruption, Cyber security, integrated border management and foreign policy, local self-government and judicial reforms.

Based on the monitoring results, progress has been made in the implementation of the major part of obligations set out in the document.

“According to the results of monitoring, the following conclusion can be made up: Georgia is ready for the Vilnius summit and for initialization of the European Union Association Agreement. However, we still  have to implement number of serious reforms. The degree of media freedom has increased, though media impartiality remains the key problem. As for the court, the degree of judicial independence has somewhat increased, but there are still some problems with the financial independence. The point is that there is a way to solve the problems and we are ready for initialization of the agreement. However, we will still have a long way ahead….” – said Khutsishvili.  

Along with non-governmental organizations, the conference was attended by Alex Petriashvili – The State Minister of Georgia on European, Gunnar Wiegand – Euro-Atlantic Integration and EEAS Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE and Philip Dimitrov – EU Ambassador to Georgia.

Alex Petriashvili stated that “Georgia has no alternative to integration into the European Union. Participation in the Vilnius summit is the first major step that will ultimately lead us to the integration in the European Union.” 

The event was attended by Armenian experts. They talked about the European integration related problems faced by the Republic of Armenia.

Based on the report:

There is some progress in the field of media independence. The report focuses on media pluralism. Though it also emphasizes the challenges related to unbiased media and the planned transition to digital TV broadcasting. Transition to digital TV broadcasting in Georgia should happens until 2015. Considering the current situation, there is some delay in this process.

The document also outlines the progress achieved in the reform of local self-government. However, dividing the competencies between the central government and local self-governments should be of great importance while implementing the report.  Development of the capacity and skills of the public servants employed on the local level is also significant.

In regards to IBM, the following progresses are  distinguished: The current IBM action plan is being updated; border crossing points are modernized and infrastructure is upgraded. However, infrastructure at green border is in dire condition and Georgian authorities need to take urgent steps to improve them. The problem of demarcation-delimitation with neighboring countries still remains.  

As for the judicial reform, the report detected some problems with the financial independence of the Judiciary. Remuneration system of judges was found to be ineffective as well.

Implementation of the recommendations attached to the report, will significantly contribute to overcome these challenges.  

The event will be attended by Armenian experts, who will talk about the European integration related problems faced by the Republic of Armenia.

Recommendations:

  • Anti-corruption activities: In order to achieve further progress in combating corruption, the Georgian authorities must undertake improving the capacity of the Anti-Corruption Council, adopting an improved anti-corruption action plan and establishing proper monitoring and evaluation procedures.
  • Implement practical measures to protect public sector employees from arbitrary dismissal and ensure that recruitment in the public administration is conducted in a competitive and transparent manner.
  • Continue the inclusive process of drafting the Anti-Corruption Action Plan for 2014-2016 and ensure that the new Anti-Corruption Action Plan contains appropriate benchmarks and measurable indicators of success, while the implementation reports should be produced at a regular basis.
  • ECHR judgments should be implemented fully and this process must cover Administrative Proceedings also; Judiciary should be accorded with certain rights in criminal proceedings in order to achieve effective balance between the principle of discretionary prosecution and victims’ rights.
  • Continue implementation of IBM strategy provisions; endorse the updated IBM Action Plan before October 2013 and start preparations for drafting the new Border Management Strategy.
  • To ensure easy and not politicized transition at Georgian Public Broadcaster; to investigate facts of pressure on the members of the GPB Board of Trustees and interference with the work of the GPB; To prepare and present the legal framework for digital switchover.

Researchers by topics:

  • Key findings and research methodology – Korneli Kakachia, Research Superviser, Tbilisi State University.
  • Election environment – Levan Natroshvili, Transparency International Georgia
  • Media independence – Nana Sajaia, media analyst, Transparency International Georgia
  • Anti-corruption policy – Erekle Urushadze, Transparency International Georgia
     

Report in English

Alex Petriashvili – The State Minister of Georgia on European  speech

Gunnar Wiegand – Euro-Atlantic Integration and EEAS Director for Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia, Regional Cooperation and OSCE  speech