Archiv - archive - 01.07.-31.12.2017 >>
>>Home - Nachrichten-Archiv-news-archive

Natia Todua ist „The Voice of Germany“!  -

Zunächst: Nach Internet-Foren könnte Bidsina Ivanischwili / Bidzina Ivanishvili am 18.06.2017 einen Schlaganfall erlitten haben. Die Nachrichtenlage ist unklar bezüglich Aufenthaltsort und Gesundheitszustand. 
Später: Zurück ohne genauere Angaben zu den Gesundheitsproblemen ...
By Carolyn Kenney and John Norris Posted on June 14, 2017
"... In January, in another turnabout, the Trump Organization and the Silk Road Group issued a joint statement formally ending “the development of Trump Tower, Batumi.” ..."
"..., Mr. Ivanishvili still runs the country Mafia-style with his lackeys installed in public positions.  ..."

Archiv - archive - 01.01.-30.06.2017 >>
>>Home - Nachrichten-Archiv-news-archive

Zaza Jgarkava, 
Life is full of surprises, and especially in Georgia. .... last week was truly unexpected even for the most experienced Georgians. First, the government arrested two rappers ... because of one of their latest rap songs; later it accused them of ... illegal drugs and sentenced them to pretrial detention. Only 48 hours after ... court allowed ... them home ... The series of surprising decisions was somehow connected not with the rappers from Birja Mafia though, but with the son of the non-formal leader of the country, Bera Ivanishvili. ... Bera’s short Facebook status “I am with you boys” ... Then came a street protest ... father and son Ivanishvili ... Prime Minister ... Vice Premier ... stand against the police. ... Political analyst Gia Khukhashvili ... a stage of “crisis management” ... Political expert Soso Tsintsadze ... the apparent deficit of trust ... if not for this political scandal many would never have even heard about the band, nor would they have watched that “fatal” video clip that caused the whole drama.
Rapper Duo Released on Bail - 12.06.2017,
The Tbilisi Court of Appeals upheld the motion of the defense lawyers and replaced prison sentences for Birja Mafia rapper duo with bail releasing the two men from the courtroom.
Mikheil Mgaloblishvili and Giorgi Keburia will have to pay bails worth GEL 50 000 (USD 20 779) and GEL 20 000 (USD 8 311), respectively.
28-year-old Mikheil Mgaloblishvili (Young Mic) and 21-year-old Giorgi Keburia (Kay-G) were arrested by the police on June 9 on charges of illegal purchase and possession of excess amount of drugs, which they denied, saying that the drugs were planted by the police in response to their recent rap video mocking police. 
Georgian rap duo the Birja Mafia ... detained in Tbilisi ... ‘illegally purchasing and holding especially large amounts’ of the recreational psychoactive drug, MDMA. ... wife ... because of their recent music video. ... policeman ... rappers ... dog leash. ... The uncensored version of the video below: ...

U.S. ‘Deeply Concerned’ by Crossing Points Closure along Abkhazia - 07.03.2017,
“The United States is deeply concerned by the decision of de facto Abkhaz authorities to close two controlled crossing points along the administrative boundary line of the occupied territory of Abkhazia in Georgia,” State Department Spokesperson Mark C. Toner said in a press statement on March 6. ... A number of countries and international organizations, including the United Nations, the European Union, NATO, the United States, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and Japan, spoke against the planned closure stressing that it would restrict freedom of movement for locals, including schoolchildren and patients requiring medical treatment.

Während Premierminister Kvirikashvili am 13.02. von der Verhinderung eines "Verbrechens gegen das Land" spricht, beteuert Diakon Mamaladze seine Unschuld.Rustavi 2 berichtet über einen Brief des Diakons an den Patriarch, in dem es um Korruption in der Kirche und Politik geht. Und am 02.03.2017 wird der Gerichtsstreit um Rustavi2 mit einem "Enteignungs-Urteil" gegen die aktuellen Eigentümer beendet.
Senior MEP Harms, Germany: Rustavi 2 Decision “Could Endanger” Media Pluralism - 07.03.2017, civil.geMEP Rebecca Harms said in a statement on March 6 that she is “deeply concerned” by the Supreme Court’s March 2 decision over Rustavi 2 TV, saying that it “could endanger the fragile balance of media pluralism in Georgia.” Rebecca Harms, who chairs the 60-member European Parliament Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly,  stated that she “welcomes” the European Court of Human Rights instruction to temporarily suspend the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s ruling and “appreciates” the decision of the Georgian Government to respect the suspension order. “Pluralism and freedom of the press are essential for democracy, Georgia’s democratic reform process and its pro-European aspiration,” she said. In order to guarantee media pluralism and media independency, Harms noted, “it is crucial to achieve full transparency of media ownership and financing.” “Media and press should not be controlled by the Government or those close to it. Opposition voices must continue to be heard on Georgian broadcast media,” she added. The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, a parliamentary forum to promote political association and further economic integration between the European Union and the Eastern European Partners, gathers 110 lawmakers from the European Parliament and the Eastern Partnership countries. The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly has 60 Members of the European Parliament (who also make up the current European Parliament Delegation) and 10 members from each of the following Eastern Partnership countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. 
The seven-member Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights decided on March 7 to prolong "until further notice" the suspension of the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s March 2 decision. ECHR instructed the Government of Georgia on March 3 that the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s decision, which granted the ownership rights of Rustavi 2 TV to its former co-owner, should be suspended and that the authorities should abstain from interfering with the applicant company’s editorial policy. The ECHR’s one-page letter, which briefly outlines the ECHR Chamber’s March 7 decision, was posted by Nika Gvaramia, director general of Rustavi 2 TV, on his Facebook page. “Please be informed that on March 7, 2017 a Chamber constituted from the Section to which the case had been allocated decided unanimously to confirm, until further notice, the interim measure indicated by the judge on March 3, 2017,” the ECHR letter said. ...
European court suspended execution of Supreme Court decision - 03.03.2017,
The European Court of Human Rights, 2 case,suspended the implementation of the Supreme Court decision, Rustavi 2 has received a formal notification from Strasbourg this evening.
ევროსასამართლომ უზენაესი სასამართლოს გადაწყვეტილების აღსრულება შეაჩერა 
- 03.03.2017,
ECHR Suspends Supreme Court’s Rustavi 2 Decision 
- 04.03.2017,
On 3 March 2017, the European Court of Human Rights decided to temporarily suspend the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s March 2 decision, which granted the ownership rights of Rustavi 2 TV, Georgia’s most-watched television channel, to its former co-owner.  
The ECHR decision was first presented by Nika Gvaramia, director general of Rustavi 2 TV, at his special press briefing on March 3. 
Gvaramia stated a day earlier, immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision, that the Rustavi 2 lawyers would request an interim measure, the Court’s instrument for temporarily suspending the final decisions of national courts.
The ECHR’s two-page letter, which briefly outlines the judge’s decision, was posted on Rustavi 2 website right after Gvaramia’s press briefing. 
“In the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it, [the Court decided] to indicate to the Government of Georgia, under Rule 39, that the enforcement of the Supreme Court’s decision of 2 March 2017 should be suspended and that the authorities should abstain from interfering with the applicant company’s editorial policy in any manner,” the ECHR letter said.
The letter specified that the interim measure will be applied temporarily, until March 8, 2017. 
It also stated that the Court decided to give priority to the Rustavi 2 application under rule 41, which determines the the order in which cases will be dealt by the ECHR. It however, did not specify when exactly would the Court convene for considering the Rustavi 2 application.
Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani, who commented on the ECHR decision on behalf of the Government two hours after Nika Gvaramia’s press briefing, stated that the Government “will follow the procedures as in all other cases that it had in Strasbourg.”
She also stated added that the Court “will have to decide whether to apply its practice on cases concerning freedom of expression, whether to extend the interim measure and whether to retain this decision or not.”
Under the Rules of Court, interim measures are binding and only applied in exceptional cases. The Court will only issue an interim measure against a Member State where, having reviewed all the relevant information, it considers that the applicant faces a real risk of serious, irreversible harm if the measure is not applied.
The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights rules on individual or state applications alleging violations of the civil and political rights set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.
Rustavi 2 TV Shareholders Lose Appeal in Ownership Dispute - 02.03.2017,
Rustavi 2 TV broadcasts live while protesters gather in front of its headquarters in Tbilisi, March 2, 2017.
The Supreme Court of Georgia, the country’s highest court of appeal, ruled on March 2 in favor of the former co-owner of Rustavi 2 TV, the country’s most-watched television broadcaster.
Chaired by the Supreme Court Head Nino Gvenetadze, the Court’s nine-judge Grand Chamber considered the case without oral hearing on March 2 and issued its ruling on the same day, granting the ownership rights to Kibar Khalvashi.
Hundreds gathered in front of Rustavi 2 headquarters to show support for the television channel, just minutes after the Supreme Court’s decision. 
Broadcasting live from the studio and the TV headquarters non-stop until late night, Rustavi 2 featured a broad spectrum of opposition politicians and civic activists, who claimed that the Supreme Court’s decision was politically motivated and would harm the Georgian democracy.
United National Movement (UNM) announced that the party will convene a political council meeting on March 3 to elaborate plans for future activities. UNM members also started to set up tents in front of Rustavi 2 headquarters.
The United States Embassy issued a statement late night on March 2 saying that the U.S. “views with concern the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Rustavi 2, which could effectively limit the access of opposition voices to Georgian broadcast media.”
“A pluralistic media environment is essential for Georgia’s democratic growth and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.  We urge the Georgian government to take steps to ensure that the media environment remains free, open, and pluralistic,” the Embassy also said.
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, expressed "disappointment" over the Supreme Court’s decision.
"Disappointing move and huge blow to media pluralism in Georgia," Dunja Mijatović stated in her twitter post.

Lawyers and prosecutor"s have arrived to the so-called Matrosov Prison an hour ago. They entered the building at 11:00. As the lawyer says, his testimony will completely change the so-called Cyanide Case.. According to him, the Prosecutors" Office was trying to drag Giorgi Mamaladze"s interrogation. The Prosecution accuses defense of speculation. Prosecutor Jarji Tsiklauri claims that the case has several prosecutors. Jarji Tsiklauri does not comment on an information, broadcasted by TV Imedi, that weapons have been found at the Patriarchate.
" I, of course, do not believe it," - Father Kakhaber Gogotishvili speaks about fact of Father Giorgi Mamaladze"s detainment - 14.02.2017, rustavi2.comA Deputy Head of the Foreign Affairs Department of the Patriarchate - Father kakhaber Gogorishvili has questions in regard to father Giorgi mamaladze"s detainment. ... "... If you want to know my opinion, I , of course do not believe it. First of all, I know father Giorgi and even if someone would say such thing about a stranger, It would be difficult for me to believe it. I think that after a while, perhaps, the truth will be revealed ..."
Response fro"Presumption of innocence was violated in all directions" - GYLA about Deacon Giorgi Mamaladze`s case - 15.02.2017, Young Lawyers Association GYLA speak about a gross violation of the presumption of innocence. Human rights defenders quote as an example, the Prime Minister`s statement in connection with the crime. "Presumption of innocence was violated in all directions as the statements were made in such a way as if the case was opened. For example, the Prime Minister`s statement, when he said that the crime has been solved, "- said Levan Vepkhvadze.
Response from prison - Father Giorgi confirms that he has informed the Patriarch about scandalous facts given in the letter - 14.02.2017, rustavi2.comA response from prison - Father Giorgi Mamaladze ... states that he used to send letters about the facts, given in the scandalous letter, published by Rustavi2 yesterday to the patriarch since 2015. In order to establish the authenticity of the letter, Rustavi 2 has asked Father Giorgi Mamaladze"s lawyer to ask, whether he really has sent such letter to the Patriarch. According to the lawyer, Deacon Giorgi Mamaladze was not able to read the whole text of the letter. However he has informed the Patriarch on the facts, given in the letter. Moreover, the Deacon states that he has sent to Ilia II more acute letters on theft of the Patriarchate"s property.
Rustavi 2 has obtained a letter, probably written by Father Giorgi Mamaladze to the the Patriarch t. Authenticity of the letter has not been confirmed, but the document makes clear that the detained Father Giorgi Mamaladze wrote to the Patriarch about the problems which were unfolding inside and outside the Church.
According to the letter, Father Giorgi informed the Patriarch that the audit had revealed 5 million debt in the Patriarchate`s clinic which was accumulated through fraudulent schemes by unscrupulous management and the alleged criminal offenses were identified. The letter states that Giorgi Mamaladze was asked by Metropolitan Jacob not to pursue the question.
Father Giorgi also wrote about corruption and unfair actions in which the representatives of the Patriarchate and the government were involved.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili's statement in the social network:
"First of all, I want to tell you that we, all of us, have avoided the huge disaster. We prevented the crime against our country - a fatal attack against the Church. ... Based on the extraordinary circumstances, I sent my bodyguards to Berlin to step up security there. ... Importantly, the doctors said that the operation went well and the Patriarch feels good. ..." Kvirikashvili is planning to visit the Patriarch in Berlin.
Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze is detained due to reparation of murder - Irakli Shotadze - 13.02.2017, briefing at the Prosecutor"s Office, announcement: According to Irakli Shotadze the detainee does not plead guilty . ... According to Irakli Shotadze, the criminal case has not been classified as secret . ... " The investigation was launched on February 2, 2017, based on one of the citizen"s application . He has applied to the Prosecutor"s Office and indicated that his acquaintance Giorgi Mamaladze asked him to help and find deadly poison - cyanide in order to murder some high rank clergyman,"- states the prosecutor"s Office. According to the recent information, Giorgi Mamaladze, a Head of the Property Management Department of the Patriarchate, was going to visit Germany, where the patriarch is being treated . The Archpriest needed the poisonous substance before leaving Georgia. During Giorgi Mamaladze"s search at Tbilisi International Airport poisonous substance- sodium cyanide has been seized. At the same time, handmade firearm and 6mMilitary cartridges were kept at the detainee"s house. At this stage of the investigation is working on several versions.
Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Irakli Shotadze said at his special press briefing on February 13 that the Prosecutors Office arrested Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze on February 10 on charges of planning “a murder of a high-ranking cleric.” Shotadze stated that the investigation was launched on February 2 based on the information provided by “certain citizen,” who informed the Prosecutor’s Office that Archpriest Giorgi Mamaladze had asked for his help in procuring natrium cyanide, a poisonous chemical substance, which Mamaladze intended to use for murdering the high-ranking cleric. The latter’s name, however, was not identified by Shotadze. The Chief Prosecutor added that Giorgi Mamaladze asked the whistleblower to obtain cyanide “as soon as possible” and promised monetary payment and “unlawful benefits” in exchange. “As it turned out, Mamaladze planned to leave for Germany, where the Patriarch is undergoing medical treatment and he needed the poisonous substance before departure,” Shotadze stated. The Chief Prosecutor added that Mamaladze, who served as the Director General at the Georgian Patriarchate’s St. Joachim and St. Ann Medical Center, “had regular access to the Georgian Patriarch and his closest circle,” due to his work. “According to the evidence gathered at this moment, Mamaladze planned a murder of one of the persons,” Shotadze added. For that purpose, the Chief Prosecutor stated, Mamaladze purchased cyanide from a person, “unknown to investigation.” Mamaladze was arrested by the prosecutors at the Tbilisi International Airport as he tried to leave for Germany. The chemical substance natrium cyanide was found in his luggage, Shotadze explained. The Chief Prosecutor added that police officers also retrieved an unregistered handmade firearm in Mamaladze’s apartment.
Responding to journalists’ questions, Shotadze refrained from identifying the interest of Mamaladze’s intentions. “I am not naming anyone because the investigation is underway. There are other versions, so I ask for patience,” he said. He also added that “for protecting the security of the Georgian Patriarch,” Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili decided to send Anzor Chubinidze, the head of the Special State Protection Service – the agency in charge of providing security to high-ranking officials and state facilities, to Berlin, Germany.

The announced closure of two crossing points along the Administrative Boundary Line of Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia - Nabakevi-Khurcha and Meore Otobaia-Orsantia - which are used daily by hundreds of commuters, will be detrimental to the freedom of movement of the population, including school children, on both sides of the Administrative Boundary Line. It will likely increase the risk of incidents, especially detentions.
Such a unilateral decision would go against commitments to work towards enhanced security and improved living conditions for the conflict-affected population. Furthermore, it would be contrary to efforts to normalise the situation by creating an atmosphere that is not conducive to longer-term conflict resolution and overall stability in the region.
The European Union, therefore, calls for the maintenance of the opening of the crossing points to ensure the freedom of movement, including humanitarian crossings. Furthermore, the participants in the Geneva International Discussions should engage constructively in enhancing security and improving living conditions for the conflict-affected population.
The European Union continues to closely follow the situation along the Administrative Boundary Line, including through the enhanced presence of its monitoring mission (EUMM). The European Union reaffirms its full support to Georgia's territorial integrity within its internationally-recognised borders.

Thousands of citizens, opposition politicians and civic activists rallied on February 19 in support of Rustavi 2, Tbilisi-based television channel and demanded “fairness” and "justice" in an ongoing ownership dispute of the television channel, which many see as orchestrated by the government to silence the opposition-leaning media.
The rally was first announced by Nika Gvaramia, director general of Rustavi 2, who said at his special press briefing on February 14 that the court proceedings over Rustavi 2 ownership dispute were coming to an end, suggesting that the ruling would not be in favor of current owners. Rustavi 2 TV went off the air for two days until the demonstration as an act of protest to what it regards the Government’s interference in media and as a call to its viewers to gather in support of the television channel. ... Current owners of Rustavi 2 are locked in a court battle with its former co-owner Kibar Khalvashi, who tries to regain control over the television channel. The TV channel, which claims that former owner’s lawsuit to regain the broadcaster is orchestrated by the government with the aim to seize the channel, lost the battle in the court of first instance and also in the appellate court and took the case to the Supreme Court.
Mehrere Tausend Menschen haben im Zentrum der georgischen Hauptstadt Tiflis für den Erhalt der Unabhängigkeit eines oppositionsnahen Fernsehsenders demonstriert. Gleichzeitig riefen sie zum Erhalt der Meinungs- und Redefreiheit auf. ...
Rustavi 2 TV, Tbilisi-based opposition-minded television channel, announced that it will go off the air until its Sunday rally, which it called to demand “fair” justice over the ongoing ownership dispute of Rustavi 2. ... “The fate of Rustavi 2, free speech and the Georgian democracy will be decided in coming days. The Supreme Court judges are under heavy pressure [by the Government],” Gvaramia stated, suggesting that the ruling would not be in favor of current owners. ...
... Tamta Muradashvili, a lawyer of the broadcasting company Rustavi2: " In our opinion, the government has announced fight without rules to Rustavi2. In this battle, we have no leverage other than honest judges who resist pressure for issuing an illegal decision."
Media project`s coordinator of the non-governmental organization "Transparency International - Georgia" spoke about the statements of the ruling party and its leaders regarding the Director General of Rustavi 2 in the live broadcast of the Courier.
Nino Robakidze said that their organization has been following the developments around Rustavi 2 from the very beginning. According to her, this is not the first time, when the ruling party or related persons has made irresponsible statements on Rustavi-2.
"If the majority leader has any additional information from the legal authorities about any additional evidence, then why does he have this evidence in the conditions of an independent investigation," - said Nino Robakidze.
Transparency International - Georgia`s representative said that the organization has collected dozens of statements made by the high- ranking autorities in the period when Rustavi2 trials went on , and even before, questioning the Rustavi 2 ownership, discussing its editorial policy and accusig Director General of concrete actions. According to her, all this serves only one purpose, to discredit the channel.
"From the date of the commencement of the trial, this process is a political process, and to deny this would be to stay in the ostrich position. Rustavi 2 case will be an important indicator of the development and evaluation of democratic processes, "- Nino Robakidze said.
... Earlier, on February 5, Rustavi 2 reported that the family of Natalia Nazgaidze, who chaired the three-judge panel adjudicating Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute at the Tbilisi Court of Appeals, received  on December 23 land plot and monetary reimbursement worth of one million Lari (USD 375 000) from the state budget in exchange for issuing the ruling against TV station’s current owners. The allegations were dismissed by Jaba Samushia, deputy chairman of Tbilisi Sakrebulo, who said that money was allocated to Nazgaidze’s brother as a compensation for the land plot that was affected by the 2015 flooding in Tbilisi.
"There is an evidence that a judge was given a bribe worth of one million GEL and there is zero response [from the Government], and on the contrary, they say that it is a lie, but there is a document confirming the fact,” MP Nika Melia, one of UNM’s leaders, told the demonstrators on February 13. Melia requested to be let in the City Hall building, which was blocked by the guards. Police arrested the demonstrators as they tried to forcefully enter the building. Tbilisi Mayor’s office released a statement after the demonstration accusing the UNM of “instigating an artificial outcry” and “manipulating” the public.
Current owners of Rustavi 2 are locked in a court battle with its former co-owner Kibar Khalvashi, who tries to regain control over this Tbilisi-based opposition-minded television channel. The TV channel, which claims that former owner’s lawsuit to regain the broadcaster is orchestrated by the government with the aim to seize the channel, lost the battle in the court of first instance and also in the appellate court and took the case to the Supreme Court.
Hundreds of citizens took to the streets on February 10, in Tbilisi, calling for “fair” justice over the ongoing ownership dispute of Rustavi 2, one of the most watched TV channels in Georgia. ...
Rustavi 2 Director General Assaulted - 18.01.2017,
Director General of the Tbilisi-based private broadcaster Rustavi 2, Nika Gvaramia was physically assaulted on January 7, while dining in a restaurant in Tbilisi with a group of friends. ...
Timeline: Rustavi 2 TV Row - 16.11.2015,

On February 27, the Council of the European Union (Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council) adopted a regulation on visa liberalization for Georgians travelling to the EU for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period. The adopted regulation will now be signed by the Council and the European Parliament. The text will then be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days later, once the suspension mechanism, which allows the EU member states to temporary reintroduce visa requirements for reasons of public security, is in place. ... According to the new regulation, Georgian citizens with a biometric passport travelling to the Schengen area for up to 90 days for business, tourist or family purposes will no longer need a visa.
... The final decision will be signed on March 1. A decision on the suspension mechanism has been taken as well.
The regulation formally amends regulation 539/2001, moving Georgia from Annex I, countries whose nationals need a visa to enter the Schengen area, to Annex II -visa free countries. ...
These measures will not apply to Ireland and the United Kingdom, in accordance with the protocols annexed to the EU treaties. The visa regime of these member states remains subject to their national legislation. ...
ისტორიული გადაწყვეტილება - ბრიუსელში ხელმოწერის ცერემონიალი გაიმართა - 27.02.2017,
ევროკავშირის მინისტრებმა საბოლოოდ დაუჭირეს მხარი  ბრიუსელში საქართველოსთვის უვიზო რეჟიმის საკითხსა და განახლებულ შეჩერების მექანიზმს. ხელმოწერის ცერემონიალი ბრიუსელში დღეს გაიმართა.
ინფორმაციას რადიო თავისუფლების ბრიუსელის ბიუროს კორესპონდენტი, რიკარდ იოზვიაკი საკუთარ ტვიტერზე წერს. 
დღეს საკითხი ევროკავშირის ქვეყნების ენერგეტიკისა და ტრანსპორტის მინისტრებმა განიხილეს და მათი დღევანდელი გადაწყვეტილება ტექნიკური ხასიათის იყო.
განახლებულ დოკუმენტზე ოფიციალური ხელმოწერის ცერემონიალი პირველ მარტს ბრიუსელში გაიმართება.
ამის შემდეგ გადაწყვეტილება ევროკავშირის ოფიციალურ ჟურნალში გამოქვეყნდება და დოკუმენტის გამოქვეყნებიდან ზუსტად ოც დღეში, ბიომეტრიული პასპორტის მქონე საქართველოს მოქალაქეები შენგენის ზონაში უვიზოდ მიმოსვლას შეძლებენ.
Visas: Council adopts regulation on visa liberalisation for Georgians - 27.02.2017,
On 27 February 2017, the Council adopted a regulation on visa liberalisation for Georgians travelling to the EU for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period.
"This agreement will bring the people of Georgia and the EU closer together and will strengthen tourism and business ties. It follows the completion of the necessary reforms by Georgia, addressing document security, border management, migration and asylum. In addition, the recent adaptation of the suspension mechanism has made this agreement possible." Carmelo Abela, Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security
The Council and the European Parliament now need to sign the adopted regulation. The text will then be published in the EU Official Journal and will enter into force 20 days later, at the same time as the new visa waiver suspension mechanism. The regulation formally amends regulation 539/2001, moving Georgia from Annex I (countries whose nationals need a visa to enter the Schengen area) to Annex II (visa free countries). Georgian citizens with a biometric passport travelling to the EU for up to 90 days for business, tourist or family purposes will no longer need a visa. These measures will not apply to Ireland and the United Kingdom, in accordance with the protocols annexed to the EU treaties. The visa regime of these member states remains subject to their national legislation.
In December 2015, the Commission found that Georgia had met all the benchmarks of the visa liberalisation action plan and was therefore ready for the exemption of the visa requirement. Following this, on 9 March 2016 the Commission presented a proposal for visa liberalisation for Georgian citizens. The Council and the European Parliament reached an agreement on the proposal on 13 December 2016. In the context of the current migratory and security situation in the European Union, and taking into account its proposals on visa liberalisation for Georgia, Ukraine, Turkey and Kosovo, the Commission decided in May 2016 to present a proposal for a regulation revising the current suspension mechanism. The revised suspension mechanism allows, in specific circumstances, to suspend the visa waiver for the nationals of a specific country. The institutions took the view that the entry into force of visa liberalisation for Georgia should be at the same time as the entry into force of the new suspension mechanism. The Council also adopted the regulation on the revised suspension mechanism on 27 February 2017.
Regulation amending Regulation 539/2001 listing the third countries whose nationals must be in possession of visas when crossing the external borders and those whose nationals are exempt from that requirement (Georgia)
Press release on the suspension mechanism

Gigi Ugulava, former Mayor of Tbilisi and one of the leaders of the newly-established Movement for Liberty - European Georgia, said the new party will put individual freedoms above state-building, arguing this was their major ideological difference from more statist United National Movement (UNM). Ugulava spoke on the past mistakes of the UNM administration, political plans of the new party and the differences between the two in his January 30 interview with Georgian news website Netgazeti. ... “Of course, all of the 500000 UNM voters, who voted for the party [in the last parliamentary elections] when we were together, are our potential voters and also many more, who share the center-right stances,” Ugulava said.
United National Movement lost 35 out of the 276 total members of local councils, Sakrebulos, following the party split, according to UNM’s statement on February 1.
“35 members of 14 Sakrebulos (including nine municipal districts and five cities) left the party,” UNM stated. Among them, three in the Tbilisi City Council (out of seven), nine in Khoni (out of 12), four in Gurjaani (out of six), four in Zugdidi (out of 18), four in Khulo (out of five), two in Akhaltsikhe (out of 11), two in Adigeni (out of six), two in Poti (out of two), two in Kutaisi (out of four), one in Akhalkalaki (out of one), one in Mtskheta (out of two), one in Chiatura (out of 5).  UNM added that it still commands 241 Sakrebulo members. The statement echoes the dispute over the assessments of the scale of the recent split; while European Georgia members claim that the party was divided, those remaining argue that it was “a small group who quit the party.”
Former UNM Members Unveil Political Plans, Change Party Name 
European Georgia Files for EPP Membership
Former, Incumbent UNM Members Form Two Factions in Tbilisi Sakrebulo 
UNM’s Parliamentary Faction Changes its Head, Name
United National Movement Splits -
Some leaders of the United National Movement (UNM), the former ruling and the second largest parliamentary party, announced on January 12 that they will leave the party and start a new political movement, which will start preparations for 2017 Municipal Elections. The statement came ahead of the party’s contested congress, scheduled for January 20 and a week after the release of Gigi Ugulava, Ex-mayor of Tbilisi and one of the leaders of the United National Movement. ...
Mikheil Saakashvili, who commented on the departure of some of the party leaders with a Facebook post, stated that “the rule of losers is over”. “Our people showed their strength and did not allow the implementation Ivanishvili’s plan to distance me from the United National Movement and take over [the party],” writes ex-President Saakashvili, who is wanted in Georgia for various charges, which he denies as politically motivated. ...

European Parliament adopted on February 2 the proposal on visa liberalization for Georgia, enabling the biometric passport holders to enter the Schengen area for 90 days within any 180-day period for a holiday, business or any other purpose, except working.
The proposal was approved with 553 votes in favor, 66 against and 28 abstentions.
The legislation still needs to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers (the text will then be publishied in the EU Official Journal) and will only enter into force once the suspension mechanism, which allows the EU member states to temporary reintroduce visa requirements for reasongs of public security, is in place. The revised  suspension mechanism was approved by the Parliament on 15 December but is still pending finalization of the official translation of the legal texts.
According to the EP press release, parliamentary rapporteur for the proposal, Mariya Gabriel, acknowledged the “broad and complex reforms” implemented by Georgia in order to get the visa waiver and thanked the country‘s authorities and citizens for their consistency and patience. "She also congratulated them on the strength of their democratic conviction and noted that the visa exemption brings the country closer to the EU."
Few technical procedures left till visa-free regime enters into force -   02.02.2017, rustavi2.com553 in favor and 66 against- Visa liberalization has been followed by applause a the European Parliament. Prior to the vote debates were held at the European Parliament, where European MPs were talking about importance of visa-free travel for Georgian citizens. ... European parliamentarians and the authorities congratulated citizens of Georgia with great success and advised to government to continue reforms, protect the opposition"s rights and freedom of the media .
"This is a very big step towards freedom. I was with my friend, Zurab Zhvania, when he said the historical phrase - " I am Georgian and therefore I am European. " When we played the European anthem after the Rose Revolution and raised the European flag. Many people in Georgia and outside it borders were laughing at me, but it was my fundamental belief that Georgia would begin to move toward the European integration process and formally it has started after 2006,"- said Mikheil Saakashvili.
In his opinion, this decision will help the youth . He states that no one should arrogate this rapprochement .
"This is Georgian people"s will and victory. Of course, I was sure, from the first day that it would happen, that Georgia would be united, Georgia will regain its control over its territories, and of course, Georgia will get rid from this misunderstanding, informal rule of Russian oligarch,"- He said.
რა უნდა იცოდნენ საქართველოს მოქალაქეებმა უვიზო მიმოსვლის რეჟიმის ამოქმედების შემდგომ - 02.02.2017,
42 against 2 LIBE Committee today voted in favor of the viza liberalization again. The new procedures became neede as the document was slightly changed. ...
Visafreiheit mit langem Vorlauf - 12.01.2017,
Georgier dürfen künftig ohne Visum in die Europäische Union einreisen. Der Ausschuss für bürgerliche Freiheiten, Justiz und Inneres des EU-Parlaments hat am 12. Januar 2017 den Vereinbarungen zwischen den EU-Mitgliedsländern und dem Plenum des EU-Parlaments zugestimmt. ...
Visa: Rat vereinbart seine Verhandlungsposition zur Liberalisierung der Visumregelung für Georgien - 05.10.2016,, Pressemitteilung 550/16 Inneres
Am 5. Oktober 2016 hat der Ausschuss der Ständigen Vertreter (AStV) im Namen des Rates eine Verhandlungsposition zur Visaliberalisierung für Georgien vereinbart. Er bestätigte den Vorschlag der Kommission, der vorsieht, dass EU-Bürger visumfrei in das Hoheitsgebiet Georgiens und Bürger dieses Landes visumfrei in die EU reisen können, wenn der Aufenthalt höchstens 90 Tage in einem Zeitraum von 180 Tagen beträgt.
Der Rat vertritt die Ansicht, dass das Inkrafttreten der Visaliberalisierung für Georgien gleichzeitig mit dem Inkrafttreten des neuen "Aussetzungsmechanismus" erfolgen sollte.
Auf der Grundlage dieses Mandats wird der slowakische Vorsitz Verhandlungen mit dem Europäischen Parlament aufnehmen.
"Der Rat hat heute sein starkes Engagement für den visafreien Reiseverkehr für Bürger aus Georgien gezeigt und dabei die Reformen Georgiens berücksichtigt. Der Vorsitz ist der Auffassung, dass der Weg der glaubwürdigen Reformen der richtige ist und ermutigt werden sollte. Wir rechnen mit der Unterstützung des Europäischen Parlaments für den Abschluss dieses Verfahrens, so dass die georgischen Bürger den visafreien Reiseverkehr so rasch wie möglich nutzen können", sagte Peter Javorčík, Ständiger Vertreter der Slowakei bei der EU und Vorsitzender des Ausschusses der Ständigen Vertreter.
Der Vorschlag für die Visaliberalisierung für Georgien wurde von der Kommission am 9. März 2016 veröffentlicht. Die Kommission kam zu dem Schluss, dass das Land alle Voraussetzungen für die Befreiung von der Visumpflicht erfüllt hatte.
Sobald die neue Visaregelung mit dem Parlament vereinbart und förmlich angenommen ist, wird das Land von Anhang I der Verordnung 539/2001 (Länder, deren Staatsangehörige für die Einreise in den Schengener Raum ein Visum benötigen) in Anhang II derselben Verordnung (visumfreie Länder) aufgenommen; somit ist visumfreies Reisen für EU-Bürger in das Hoheitsgebiet Georgiens und für Staatsangehörige Georgiens in die EU möglich, wenn der Aufenthalt höchstens 90 Tage in einem Zeitraum von 180 Tagen beträgt.
Vor dem Hintergrund der aktuellen Migrationslage in der Europäischen Union und unter Berücksichtigung der Kommissionsvorschläge für die Liberalisierung der Visabestimmungen in Bezug auf Georgien, die Ukraine, das Kosovo und die Türkei und der Erörterungen mit den Mitgliedstaaten fasste die Kommission am 4. Mai 2016 den Beschluss, einen Vorschlag zur Änderung der Verordnung 539/2001 vorzulegen, um den derzeitigen Aussetzungsmechanismus zu überarbeiten.
Das Hauptziel der überarbeiteten Verordnung ist die Stärkung des Aussetzungsmechanismus. Dies wird dadurch erreicht, dass es für die Mitgliedstaaten leichter wird, Umstände zu signalisieren, die zu einer Aussetzung führen können, dass die Kommission auf eigene Initiative den Mechanismus auslösen kann und dass die Kommission beauftragt wird, einen Jahresbericht an das Europäische Parlament und den Rat darüber zu übermitteln, inwieweit visumfreie Drittstaaten weiterhin die nötigen Kriterien erfüllen.
Die möglichen Gründe für die Aussetzung wurden erweitert und die Anwendung des Mechanismus wird auch durch die Verkürzung der Bezugszeiträume und Fristen vereinfacht, damit ein schnelleres Verfahren möglich wird.
Die Beratungen zwischen dem Parlament und dem Rat über den Mechanismus zur Aussetzung der Visumbefreiung laufen derzeit noch.
Gemäß den den EU-Verträgen beigefügten Protokollen werden Irland und das Vereinigte Königreich nicht zur Anwendung dieser Maßnahmen verpflichtet sein. Die Visaregelung dieser beiden Mitgliedstaaten unterliegt weiterhin deren innerstaatlichen Rechtsvorschriften.
Georgiens Regierung will die Visafreiheit - 26.11.2016,
TIFLIS (dpa). In der Debatte um ein Ende der Visumpflicht für Georgien wirbt die Regierung der Kaukasusrepublik bei Deutschland für Vertrauen in ihr Land. "Wir haben Kontrollmechanismen eingeführt, um Risiken für die EU zu vermeiden", sagte Regierungschef Giorgi Kwirikaschwili in Tiflis. ... Eigentlich war bereits für Juni ein positiver Beschluss aus Brüssel zum Ende der Visumpflicht erwartet worden. ...
Brüssel.  Die EU gewährt der Ukraine, dem Kosovo und Georgien bald die Visafreiheit. Wahrscheinlich folgen Lockerungen auch bald für die Türkei. ...
Kommissions-Empfehlung für Ukraine, Georgien und den Kosovo
Für die Ukraine, Georgien und den Kosovo hat die EU-Kommission diese Empfehlung schon vorgelegt. ...
Die EU will in den kommenden Wochen über die Vereinfachung der Visaregeln für die Ukraine und Georgien entscheiden, wie der EU-Komissar für Erweiterung und Nachbarschaftspolitik, Johannes Hahn, am Samstag mitteilte. „Ja, alles läuft planmäßig. Was die Ukraine und Georgien angeht, sollen die Ergebnisse in den kommenden Wochen veröffentlicht werden“, so Hahn.Außenminister: Östliche Partnerschaft nur Illusion Am Samstag fand ein Treffen der Außenminister der EU-Länder mit Ministern der Länder des Programms zur „Östlichen Partnerschaft“ in der slowakischen Hauptstadt Bratislava statt.    Tiflis rechnet dabei mit einer Liberalisierung der Visumplicht schon im Sommer dieses Jahres. Die Erörterung dieser Frage wurde im Juni jedoch auf einen späteren Termin verschoben. Auch Kiew erhofft sich eine Vereinfachung der Visaregeln noch im Sommer 2016. Nun rechnen die Behörden mit Jahresende. ...
Wenn es nach Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier ginge, dann dürften Georgier schon bald ohne Visum in die EU einreisen. In Tiflis sprach er sich für eine Liberalisierung aus – trotz Widerstand in der Union. ...
Bei seinem Besuch in der georgischen Hauptstadt Tiflis hat Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier dem Land eine baldige Entscheidung über die geplante Visaerleichterung in Aussicht gestellt. Die Kriterien dafür hat Georgien bereits erfüllt und stellt nun hohe Erwartungen an die EU. ...