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 Full text 
Wednesday, 27 November 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Eastern neighbourhood developments (debate)

  Andrius Kubilius (PPE). – Mr President, as the new Co-Chair of Euronest, I would like sincerely to thank the Vice—President for what she did for the Eastern Partnership region. Everybody understands why we are fighting for the possibility of European integration of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. But, we cannot be bigger fighters for the integration of those countries than the leadership of those countries.

Today I will talk mainly about Georgia, not about Moldova, whose new prime minister decided to go for the first visit to Moscow. Recent developments in Georgia force us to be really very much concerned about the situation and future of democracy in Georgia. It’s obvious: no democracy, no integration. You know that the leader of the ruling party in Georgia decided not to implement his own promise, which he gave to Georgian citizens and the opposition to support the introduction of a proportional election system. He gave this promise in order to convince, to answer the previous wave of protest in the middle of last summer.

Now the trust of Georgian people towards Parliament and to democracy in Georgia is lost. It’s obvious that the ruling party decided not to fulfil their promise because, perhaps, they became afraid that they will lose proportional elections next year. What are the conclusions we can make from such a decision of the ruling party? Perhaps it means that the ruling party is planning to use old administrative tricks to win elections. That is why this discussion is a very good opportunity to urge ruling party leadership and leadership of Georgia to come back to real and trustful dialogue with the opposition.

Second, we need to urge both the ruling party and the opposition to agree on major reforms of the election system because people will not trust in the old system. The so—called German system could be a basis of such an agreement because that would not demand a change of the Georgian constitution.

And the last point, the European Parliament should urge political parties in Georgia really to implement all the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OHDIR) recommendations on how the administration of elections should be improved in order to stop the practice of influenced elections. We need to assist Georgia, sometimes speaking openly, rash and critical.

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