“We Are a Value-Based Organization” - Council of Europe & Georgia
13 March, 2015
“We Are a Value-Based Organization” - Council of Europe & Georgia
On 24 February 2015 Steering Committee of the Council of Europe (CoE) Action Plan for Georgia 2013-2015 met at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia to discuss progress of its implementation. CoE delegation, led by Ms Verena Taylor, Director of the Office of the Directorate General of Programmes, participated in the event together with representatives of relevant Georgian ministries, state agencies, professional institutions and other stakeholders directly involved in the implementation of projects under the 2013-2015 Action Plan.
Georgian
Journal
had the privilege of talking with Ms Taylor after the meeting, discussing the role and activities of Council of Europe in Georgia.


– What was the scope of your visit to Tbilisi?

Verena Taylor – Director of the Council of Europe Office of the Directorate General of Programmes (ODGPROG):

– The scope of my visit was to meet with the Georgian authorities and various other stakeholders and discuss the ongoing implementation of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia 2013-2015. The action plan was adopted in October 2013 and covers a number of areas including the protection and promotion of human rights, fight against intolerance and discrimination, protection of minorities, penitentiary and police reform, promotion of media freedom, internet governance, data protection, fight against corruption, local democracy, cultural heritage and confidence building measures for people in conflict-affected areas and many more. The Action Plan is the preferred working method of the Council of Europe with several of its Member States and Georgia is one of them. The action plan serves two purposes: to support a domestic reform agenda while at the same time observing the commitments that it took when joining the Council of Europe.

– How would you describe the Council of Europe’s agenda – its objectives and goals in Georgia?

We are striving to help Georgia to prepare for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on domestic violence.

Alessandro Savaris - Deputy Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia:

– Being a leading human rights organization which aims to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law in all Council of Europe member States, the Council of Europe has spent past years substantially investing into reinforcement of its operational departments, which are in charge of helping states to strengthen their capacities in specific areas where shortcomings have been identified by the monitoring bodies. This has been done, inter alia, through the adoption of ad-hoc co-operation instruments such as Action Plans as well as through the creation of a Directorate General of programmes, headed by Ms. Taylor, which has a co-ordination role of all technical assistance projects and activities implemented by the organization.  

– The action plan covers an extensive range of issues: human rights, media freedom, free and fair elections, good governance, anti-discrimination and so on. How would you assess the implementation of this huge agenda so far?

Verena Taylor:

– Each stage of the action plan is assessed through the prism of the project’s progress. We develop indicators, which allow us to judge the efficiency of various projects. Another thing that is also very important is that there is a trustful relationship between the government and my colleagues working on the implementation of these projects in the Council of Europe Office in Georgia. As for the future Action Plan, to start next year, we will adopt a more sectorial approach, focusing on areas or sectors of co-operation more than on specific projects, which would allow us being more flexible and easily adapt to possible new future priorities and requests. The meeting with the Georgian authorities was therefore two-fold: To assess and discuss the implementation of the onggeotv.geoing Action Plan and to start collecting ideas and proposals for the future Council of Europe Action Plan for Georgia.

– Has there been a smooth cooperation on every issue between the Georgian government and the Council of Europe or have there been cases when the two sides could not agree?

Verena Taylor:

– There has not been a case like this and it’s because the Action Plan was actually drafted in close cooperation with Georgian government and civil society representatives. In this sense, we can call it an agreed and shared document. Most of the projects included in the Action Plan are ongoing or will soon be launched. There are only two major areas for which we are still looking for funding: police reform and local government reform but we are working on it.

– How many projects are funded?

Verena Taylor:

– At present about two thirds of the Action Plan is funded. We secured funding for some of the projects fairly recently. We’re just starting the implementation of nine additional projects. As the Council of Europe finances most of its technical assistance activities through extra-budgetary sources, we are usually receiving support from the EU and from voluntary contributions by our Member States. In this respect, we have signed with the EU, in December 2014, a multi-annual Programmatic Co-operation Framework (PCF) for all Eastern Partnership countries. And this framework has allowed us to move a big step forward with all Action Plan objectives.

Alessandro Savaris:

– As for those nine additional projects, a few weeks ago we launched a project to support the Georgian Bar Association, building and strengthening its geotv.gestructural capacities and improving the domestic application of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). We are also working on a new project on minorities, which will aim at ensuring better integration of minorities in the country in line with the Council of Europe’s European Charter for Regional Minority languages. Its signature and ratification was in fact one of Georgia’s accession commitments when entering our organization. Yet another project is focused on media – to improve the climate, openness and accountability in the field of media, which also includes a component on internet governance. A project on data protection aiming at improving the capacities of state institutions in ensuring the protection of personal data in line with relevant Council of Europe standards and conventions will also be launched in the coming weeks. We will also have a project on the reform of the electoral system, with the Council of Europe Venice Commission involved and two projects centered on the fight against corruption and the fight against money-laundering at both a Georgia-specific and Eastern Partnership level. In the framework of the PCF regional (EaP) component, projects will be implemented in the field of electoral assistance, local democracy, cybercrime and others. We will also launch soon a project to support the Public Defender’s office strengthening its operational capacities, in particular its regional offices.

– Are there any projects on children’s rights and domestic violence? With the recent surge of domestic violence in Georgia, these topics are becoming some of the most acute problems.

Verena Taylor:

The Council of Europe has promoted the basic values that are considered European: human rights, the rule of law and democratic governance from the beginning. We had conventions, which made life in Europe better.

– First of all, I would like to underline that a gender dimension is included in all of our projects and secondly, certain aspects of gender-specific issues are subjects of our projects. We are striving to help Georgia to prepare for the ratification of the Istanbul Convention on domestic violence.

Alessandro Savaris:

– As for violence against children, the Lanzarote Convention on protection of Children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse entered into force in January 2015. Now we are exploring ways of promoting it in the country and possible work in this field as well in the future.

– Last subject to wrap it up. The Council of Europe with its 47 member states and 820,000 million citizens – how would you assess its political weight?

Verena Taylor:

– This is a key question. Are we a political organization or are we a legal organization? I would say that we are value-based organization. Our role and significance is much bigger than many people are aware of. The Council of Europe has promoted the basic values that are considered European: human rights, the rule of law and democratic governance from the beginning. We had conventions, which made life in Europe better. The fact that judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are implemented by Lichtenstein and by Russia means an amazing amount of respect. It’s quite uniquely universal. Furthermore, the EU uses our standards as accession criteria. There is no doubt that the Council of Europe makes the life of people better. If there is less torture, if there is more freedom of expression and less corruption, it is good for everybody and the Council of Europe is directly involved in it.

Print
Other Stories
German President arrives in Tbilisi, welcomes dialogue between Georgian, Russian FMs
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier welcomes resumption of dialogue between Georgia and Russia at the level of Foreign Ministers.
Rose Gottemoeller visits Georgia
This visit is an opportunity to deepen and strengthen our cooperation with Georgia even further.
Georgia needs to find peace to evolve, former Swiss ambassador says
One year before the elections the former Swiss ambassador Lukas Beglinger is sure that the country will soon face big changes.
Georgian MP slaps colleague, an argument erupts in the Parliament
Eka Beselia, the lawmaker who left the Georgian Dream party, hit majority MP Vano Zardiashvili at the sitting of the Legal Issues Committee.
Georgia will use all available means to rise up to the new Russian challenge, says Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
Georgia will use all available means to give a proper assessment and to stop Russia doing such things, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Vladimir Konstantinid said
Swiss State Secretary: “Georgia is safe, we do not grant asylum”
2500 Georgians have sought asylum in Switzerland since 2016. Not one request has been granted. Now Switzerland wants Georgia to tackle irregular migration.
"Georgia has a long way to go in Tourism"
Because of the booming tourism industries, the Georgian government starts to implement regulations. “But this happens not fast enough, not efficient enough and not rigorous enough”, says Stefan Meister from the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
Former US diplomat Matthew Bryza discusses Georgia, NATO membership and Trump’s presidency with GJ
How can we explain the statement made by the former Secretary-General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rassmussen about the possibility for Georgia to join NATO?
NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Madeleine Moon visits Khurvaleti village
President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Madeleine Moon has arrived in the village of Didi Khurvaleti, in the Gori municipality, located near the Administrative Boundary Line.
“Georgia could soon be ready for regulations”
“With big money you can either build or destroy something”, says Vano Vashakmadze. The consultant for development in tourism helped to work out the new zone planning implemented by the government.
Mamuka Khazaradze establishes Lelo movement
The public movement of TBC Bank's founder Mamuka Khazaradze will be called Lelo.
TBC Bank founder Mamuka Khazaradze to establish social movement in Anaklia
The presentation of the social movement of the founder of TBC Bank Mamuka Khazaradze will be held tomorrow, September 12, in Anaklia. The event begins at 12:00.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen offers Georgia a way to join NATO
Georgia should start an internal discussion of whether it would be acceptable to join NATO without Abkhazia and South Ossetia, - Anders Fogh Rasmussen, former Secreatry General of North-Atlantic Teaty Organisation, said.
“These protests are different”
«In Georgia protesting is almost a tradition», says the historian Simon Janashia who works at the American School in Tbilisi. But the current demonstrations are profoundly different.
Kelly Degnan nominated as the next U.S. ambassador to Georgia
President Donald Trump has submitted the nomination of Kelly Degnan to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to Georgia.
Development of the Anaklia deep sea port should be in the interest of every Georgian, says Kurt Volker
Importance of the Anaklia deep sea port is huge for Georgia and the Georgians have heard about it from many politicians inside or outside of the country.
Clashes and whistling in the Georgian Parliament after nomination of new PM
Clashes took place at the entrances to the Parliament building today, as protesters held the "Shame on You" event.
“Georgian Dream” Party introduced Georgy Gakharia as Prime Minister
“Georgian Dream” party has introduced Interior Minister Georgy Gakharia to the post of Prime Minister.
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has resigned
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has resigned. Bakhtadze released the relevant statement on the social network.
There will be no war with Georgia, says De-facto official
Georgia's provocative actions at the "borders of South Ossetia" are just an attempt by the Georgian authorities to divert their population's attention from acute domestic problems
After the summer Tbilisi is expecting another hot season
Every evening in June and July hundreds of protesters came to the parliament to demonstrate.
Why so called South Ossetian delegation gave ultimatum to the Georgian side?
Representatives of de-facto regime of the Tskhinvali region gave ultimatum to the Georgian side to abolish the Georgian police block post near Tsnelisi until 6:00am, August 30th.
Former Russian Duma member sees theoretical chance of solution the Abkhazia problem
Former member of the Russian Duma, Ilya Ponomarev, believes that there is a theoretical chance of resolving the problem of occupied Abkhazia
Georgian president calls Brexit new opportunity (Watch video)
Georgians feel that they are Europeans. It is not something they are striving for. They are European, President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili said in her interview with Euronews.
So called elections in Abkhazia go into second round
The “Presidential elections” in Abkhazia do not bring a clear leader. Nor are they recognized by a variety of states, among them the US, the UK, Ukraine and Latvia.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
15.10.2019
16.10.2019
USD
1
USD
2.9701
2.9701
EUR
1
EUR
3.2778
3.2725
GBP
1
GBP
3.7328
3.7631
RUB
100
RUB
4.6307
4.6078
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.9701
EUR
1
EUR
3.2725
GBP
1
GBP
3.7631
RUB
100
RUB
4.6078
October 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31