Georgia – Joint statement by France and Germany (12 December 2020)
Germany and France encourage Georgia to continue on the path of democratic reform.
As a close partner for Germany and France, Georgia has undergone tremendous democratic changes in the last two decades. It has strengthened its ties with NATO and the European Union, where it plays an exemplary role within the Eastern Partnership. Building strong institutions is the bedrock of a strong democracy - as is a functioning democratic pluralism. We thus welcome the political consensus that all political parties reached earlier this year over necessary changes in the electoral system. Georgians have shown readiness to seize the opportunity of renewed parliamentary pluralism offered by this reform. The strong voter turnout during the first round of elections is encouraging and - amid the pandemic - remarkable.
International observers of ODIHR and domestic civil society have, however, pointed to some shortcomings in the electoral process. It appears that all political forces in Georgia agree that further electoral and judicial reforms should remain high on the political agenda. For such a debate, parliament is the right forum, as a parliamentary process would strengthen the outcome and the process alike - and ultimately the trust in public institutions in Georgia. We would like to underscore our support for international mediators from the European Union and the United States. Their assistance to all political parties in Georgia has been offered with a view to help achieve a positive reform to strengthen Georgia’s democratic institutions.
While Georgia faces an array of regional challenges, it remains all the more important that the country stands united. France and Germany stand ready as partners for the democratic path which Georgia has chosen. In the context of recent talks regarding further economic integration of the breakaway region of Abkhazia with the Russian Federation, we reiterate our strong support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. We recall the necessity that all parties concerned, including Russia, fully implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement and reach tangible results in the Geneva International Discussions.