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Dear Ms Kadagidze, Ms Winter, Mr Mader, dear all,
It is a great pleasure for me to participate to today’s event, which marks the end of an important and successful project in a crucial field for EU-Georgia relations – the judiciary and judicial reforms.
This latest project come on top of previous joint efforts, concluding a period of almost a decade where Ms Renate Winter, Ms Chochua and Ms Gogiberidze have provided great support to justice institutions here in Georgia.
Under the umbrella of consecutive EU-funded projects, their strong commitment and professionalism helped formulate and implement many important reforms in this sector.
The objectives of the latest project, implemented since 2016, was to assist with
Following the adoption of the 4th wave of judiciary reforms, the project also focused on the implementation of both the 3rd and 4th waves of reforms, as well to enhance the cooperation with the European Court of Justice, and making sure that restorative principles of justice were applied more vigorously.
Today’s presentation is an excellent opportunity both to take stock of progress made and discuss what needs to be done next.
The European Union is proud to have taken an active role in developing the Rule of Law in Georgia, which is a pillar in any democracy.
While recognising progress made, it is equally true that further efforts are needed, in particular when it comes to increasing the transparency, accountability, independence and trust in the judiciary.
This conclusion is backed up by several assessments made both domestically and by international partners, and have been translated into commitments made within the framework of the EU-Georgia Association Agenda, our Macro Financial Assistance, and not least, the EU-mediated political agreement of 19 April.
The 19 April Agreement in a way, already provides a comprehensive work plan for what needs to be done next, highlighting reforms of key institutions and processes, and the need to address them in a broad, inclusive and cross-party reform process – which, following the decision of 148 out of 150 MPs to enter into Parliament, is now a credible prospect.
“Trust” is a key concept when discussing the state of the Judiciary. There are both objective and subjective aspects to this concept. Trust requires solid institutions and legislation. But it also requires sound, inclusive and transparent procedures, accountability and proper implementation.
Building on what has been achieved in this field so far, and to use the opportunities that exist today to build further trust in the judiciary and the wider area of the Rule of Law, is what we now hope and expect.
In this spirit, I would like to use this opportunity to encourage the Parliament, the High Council of Justice, the Supreme Court and all judicial institutions and individual judges – many of whom are represented here today - to advance on this agenda, which will – by extension - also advance Georgia’s European agenda.
And rest assured that the European Union will remain your partner in these efforts.
To round up, let me thank again the core team and all experts who were involved in the implementation of this EU4Justice Judiciary Support Project.
And let me thank Ms Kadagidze and all members of different institutions, who have been working closely with this project over the years.