„Strengthening Parliament means strengthening Georgian Democracy and in this direction we will very actively cooperate with the EU as well as with all other partners who are interested in carrying out democratic processes appropriately in Georgia“, - the Speaker of Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze said while giving a welcome speech as part of the EU Project - Strengthening Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector.
According to the Speaker, Parliament needs qualitative political and institutional strengthening and, in this direction, strengthening and development of the oversight function is very important, especially in the field of defense and security.
We have two major functions. These are legislative and oversight, control functions and we need qualitative strengthening of both directions. For that purpose specific steps are planned. Parliament of Georgia has particular plans to strengthen legislative function and even more significant and of higher priority is development of the oversight function.
“We have adopted amended constitution of Georgia, strengthening respective mechanisms. Parliament now has better resources for carrying out oversight of the activity of the executive. Therefore, we need to make use of this opportunity appropriately”, - Irakli Kobakhidze said.
According to the Speaker, work is underway on the Parliament Rules of Procedure, which should specify oversight functions and respective mechanisms. According to Irakli Kobakhidze, assistance of our international partners and civil society is of particular importance.
“We definitely need strong support in all these, especially from the part of our international partners as well as civil society. I would like to mention again, the project we are officially starting today is a valuable contribution to be made to this process”, - Irakli Kobakhidze said.
According to the Speaker, Parliament is the central link within the current constitutional system, therefore, functionality of the Parliament largely determines functionality of Georgian democratic system in general.
Irakli Kobakhidze thanked the European Union and the head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia for strong support.
“I would like to thank our partners for assistance and, at the same time, support and I would like to thank the EU, in particular the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia and especially Mr. Herman for very strong support they provide to Georgia and specifically to the Parliament of Georgia. This assistance and support is really valuable to us. The support is reflected in specific activities as well as specific projects and I would like to mention that EU projects are always result-oriented, for which I would like to deeply thank the European Union and the Delegation of the European Union once more“, - Irakli Kobakhidze stated.
The participants of the event were addressed with welcome speeches by the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, János Herman and the Head of Defense and Security Committee Irakli Sesiashvili.
Irakli Sesiashvili thanked the European Union for the assistance of the important project.
“Parliamentary Oversight, as the important form of control for democratic governance, does not only involve application of standards. This is a correct and natural process affecting the governance of the country. Parliamentary oversight does not mean inspection of anybody. This is a mutually beneficial process based on transparency, openness and mutually useful activity”, - Irakli Sesiashvili said.
According to him, the mentioned project is one more significant step in the process started by the Parliament of Georgia and it will guarantee that the process will effectively reach the desired outcome.
The head of the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia made high evaluation of the involvement of Parliament in the reform process and particularly thanked the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia for successful implementation of the mentioned process.
“We very highly evaluate the results of this reform achieved so far. We know how important in this process the Parliament is and how active the Parliament has become in supporting this reform. Let me pay tribute to the increasing role of the Parliament in this process and pay the tribute personally to the Speaker of the Parliament, who has become a guiding force of this processes. We have done quite a lot together with Georgia through a wider framework of public administration reform and we will continue the public administration reform, supported by important European Union resources”, - János Herman said.
János Herman focused on the security sector and support of the EU in Parliamentary oversight. According to him, EU policy is complex in this direction and it has to be fully in line with the principles of democracy, rule of law and human rights. According to János Herman, the EU is becoming increasingly active in the area of security and will become more and more active in conflict prevention and conflict resolution, in antiterrorism and antiradicalism issues.
The presentation was made to the participants of the event by Steve Lee. Participants were informed of the main tasks of the project implementation and future steps.
Special attention was paid to planned activities for the purpose of increasing Parliamentary oversight.
The project aims at supporting Parliament in increasing oversight so that the legislative body can effectively carry out oversight of the activity of the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (including Police) and the State Security service of Georgia. Project activities include capacity building of the employees of the Parliament Office.
The project is carried out in cooperation with Legal Issues as well as Human Rights and Civil Integration Committees of the Parliament of Georgia and supports European aspirations of Georgia which depend on sustainable progress in terms of democracy, human rights and rule of law. Progress in this direction will also promote achievement of the sustainable development goals in Georgia, especially development of effective and sustainable institutions.
Activities will be carried out as part of the project to achieve sustainable outcomes considering human rights protection and gender factors.
After the presentation, discussion and expressing opinions on the presented recommendations took place.
The project funded by the EU started in October 2017 and has been going on for 18 months.