Mr HOWELL (United Kingdom, Spokesperson for the European Conservatives Group) –
Thank you, Sir, and it has been a great pleasure to work with colleagues of yours in the Council of Europe.
I will pick up where one of my colleagues left off. The Economist, which is an internationally recognised organisation, has classified Georgia as a "hybrid regime" and not a full democracy. That is no cause for congratulation, but I appreciate that it may be a step on the road to full democracy. You have parliamentary elections coming up next year. How will you make sure that you become a full democracy?
Mr BAKHTADZE –
Georgia is a full democracy. We switched to a parliamentary democracy after the election of the President of Georgia. You mentioned a very reputable magazine, but let me give you some other information, such as our success in the protection of human rights, our economic development and our transparency. I said that we are ranked number five in the open budget index, which measures important policy making by governments. That is a major indicator of Georgia's success. When it comes to democracy and the protection of human rights, the best indicator would be the Court in Strasbourg, where cases have decreased by 80%. We are No. 6 in the world in the World Bank's doing business index. But we understand that there are some shortcomings and we want to address them, using the recommendations of institutions that include the Council of Europe. We are fully motivated to do so. The Georgian Parliament is working intensively to implement into our legislation the recommendations that we received from the OSCE on the presidential elections conducted last year. Please be assured that Georgia will take its success story to another level, with your support and recommendations.