Georgian Speaker Wants to Meet New EP President Before Jean Monnet Talks

The cabinet of Georgian Parliamentary Chairperson said today a meeting between freshly-elected European Parliament President Roberta Metsola and Georgian Speaker Shalva Papuashvili should take place prior to the start of the Jean Monnet Dialogue, considering the personal role of the chairpersons in the process.

The statement by Speaker Papuashvili’s cabinet came in response to the Dialogue co-facilitators from the European Parliament, MEPs Viola von Cramon, Marina Kaljurand and Miriam Lexmann, who announced yesterday about revoking their two-day visit to Georgia as “Shalva Papuashvili did not find the time to engage.”

Speaker Papuashvili’s cabinet said “planning a preparatory visit would be logical and appropriate precisely after” two Parliamentary Chairpersons hold a meeting.

“The Jean Monnet Dialogue is a process based on cooperation, rather than a format of spontaneous and unilaterally planned activities,” noted Georgian Parliamentary Chairperson’s cabinet, adding: “it is important for the process to be properly prepared and implemented in order to prevent this tool from becoming a source of polarization itself, instead of reducing polarization.”

The Georgian Speaker’s cabinet also noted that “the Jean Monnet Dialogue is based on the principle of minimal publicity. Correspondingly, the statement issued by the three MEPs on 21 January only increases the risk of polarization and does not promote the start of the dialogue process.”

The Jean Monnet Dialogue is a parliamentary mediation and dialogue tool developed by the European Parliament, and launched in 2016. MEPs von Cramon (The Greens/EFA, Germany), Kaljurand (S&D, Estonia) and Lexmann (EPP, Slovakia) were tapped to lead the process in Georgia in June 2021, in the aftermath of EU-brokered April 19 deal between the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties. The GD quit the deal late in July.

Shalva Papuashvili was elected as Georgian Parliament Speaker some three weeks ago on December 29, few days after previous Speaker Kakha Kuchava unexpectedly resigned from the post and quit the legislature. Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, new President of the European Parliament was elected on January 18.

The disagreement between the Georgian Speaker and European lawmakers comes amid already strained relations between the Georgian Dream government and Brussels over the controversial Supreme Court and High Council of Justice appointments, GD’s preemptive refusal of conditional EU loan, and Georgia’s alleged spying on western diplomats, to name a few.

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