Stefan Füle, European Commissioner for Enlargement, said talks on electoral system reform in Georgia were important to build trust between the various stakeholders.
In a statement released after meeting with Georgian State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, Giorgi Baramidze, in Brussels on April 18, the European Commissioner said, that events in North Africa “have demonstrated an increased importance to ensure that voices of the peoples are heard and that political pluralism and free and fair elections are in place.”
“Therefore I welcome the dialogue between the government and the opposition on the reform of the electoral code. I also welcome the engagement of the civil society in this process. These talks are important to build trust and confidence among all stakeholders,” Commissioner Füle said, adding that he also welcomed Georgia’s intention to consult closely with the Council of Europe’s advisory body on legal affairs, Venice Commission.
Talks between the opposition and the ruling party on electoral system reform are currently halted and while the both sides claim that they desire to resume negotiations, the prospects of talks remain unclear. The most recent major development came on April 5, when the group of eight opposition parties presented their new proposals on the electoral system on which the ruling party has yet to give its response.
During the meeting with Baramidze, who is also Georgia’s Deputy PM, Füle said, he welcomed progress in the Association Agreement negotiations and called on Georgia to “keep a pragmatic approach” during these talks.
He said that the European Commission remained committed to recommending EU member states to start talks with Georgia on deep and comprehensive free trade area (DCFTA) “as soon as sufficient progress in the implementation of the ‘key recommendations’ has been made.”
EU is expected to release a review of European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) next month, which will include progress reports about fulfillment of commitments under ENP by the participant countries also including Georgia.
Georgia will host in its Black Sea resort of Batumi an international conference on cooperation in frames of EU’s Eastern Partnership on July 21-23.