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On 18 November 2014, Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, assessed his visit to Brussels. According to the Prime Minister, the first meeting of the EU-Georgia Association Council was fruitful. Moreover, Mr Gharibashvili noted that there have been noticeable achievements concerning the visa liberalisation between the EU and Georgia, adding that the European Parliament will ratify the agreement before the end of this year. According to the Prime Minister, constructiveness of the opposition was one of the main topics of discussion during his visit to Brussels: “The European Parliament wishes that the opposition would become more constructive and start cooperating with the government.”

FactCheck 

took interest in Mr Gharibashvili’s statement and verified it.

Irakli Gharibashvili held meetings with NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, as a part of the agenda of his visit to Brussels.

Secretary General Stoltenberg thanked the Prime Minister for Georgia’s contributions to the development of the alliance and noted

 that Georgia is a country aspiring towards NATO membership, is one of the Organisation’s most loyal partners and plays an important role in the carrying out of its operations. Mr Stoltenberg also positively assessed the ongoing reform processes in Georgia and pledged his support in carrying out democratic reforms in the country including strengthening the rule of law and developing an independent judicial system.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, stated

 that signing the Association Agreement allowed Georgia and the EU to strengthen both political and economic cooperation. Ms Mogherini positively assessed the implementation of the first phase of the visa liberalisation process and considered the possibility of the initiation of the second phase. She also noted Georgia’s achievements in its democratic development by highlighting the Parliamentary Elections of 2012 and the Presidential Elections of 2013. She added that Georgia should consider the OSCE’s recommendation and take the proposed necessary actions before the next elections. Moreover, Ms Mogherini emphasised the need for improving the political climate, avoiding political retributions and polarisation and providing the necessary arena for the opposition and inter-party dialogue.

Both the EU-Georgia Association Council Joint Press Release and the Resolution

 of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament clearly call for the Government of Georgia to improve the country’s political climate and avoid political retributions and polarisation. In parallel, the EU made special emphasis upon the fact that investigation and litigation processes should be based upon actual evidence and conducted independently of any political motivation.

Of note is that this is not the first incidence when Georgia’s Western partners have pointed to the Government of Georgia for worsening the country’s political climate and politicising proceedings. FactCheck has already written about this topic on several occasions such as, for example, the statement issued by the US Department of State together with the Report of the UN Human Rights Committee and the Resolution

 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Conclusion

Neither the meetings held within the agenda of Irakli Gharibashvili’s visit to Brussels nor the Resolution of the European Parliament concerned “the opposition’s becoming more constructive and the need for it to start cooperating with the government.” NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, both explicitly pointed out politically motivated proceedings and a polarisation of the country’s political situation. Statements of both the European Parliament and the EU note the government’s achievements although they underline the need for improving the political climate, providing a political arena for the opposition and preventing justice from becoming a lever for political retribution.

Therefore, Mr Gharibashvili’s statement: “The European Parliament wishes that the opposition would become more constructive and start cooperating with the government,” is a LIE.