Local EU Statement on Current Political Tension in Georgia (26/10/2015)

The Delegation of the European Union issues the following statement in agreement with the Heads of Mission of the EU Member States in Georgia

The EU is closely following developments concerning the media environment in Georgia. As we implement the Association Agreement, we have increased our support to Georgia, but also our scrutiny. At this stage, it is important to build on the reforms achieved so far and ensure fully functioning democratic institutions. A pluralistic political and media landscape is an essential component of Georgia's democracy and its European choice.

While we wish to refrain from commenting on the merits of individual court cases, we have concerns to be addressed and we expect that the principles of rule of law, independence of judiciary and media freedom are applied in practice in Georgia at this important moment. The limitation or the disruption of an important media outlet would have the potential to weaken the democratic process, including the conduct of the elections scheduled for October 2016.

The EU shares and supports the stated goal of the government to continue with reforms and to achieve free and orderly elections. We trust that the government will treat this as an absolute priority throughout the forthcoming year. Proper access of all democratic political forces to the media is an essential precondition for democratic elections.

We call upon all state institutions and political actors to refrain from any further steps or statements that could increase tensions and foster polarisation.