Foreign Policy

Usupashvili: Euro-Atlantic aspiration must be outlined in constitution

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Photo: David Usufashvili Official/Fb.com

The Chairman of the Parliament, Davit Usupashvili, encouraged MPs to discuss an initiative to include in the preamble of Georgia’s Constitution the country’s Euro-Atlantic foreign policy orientation. Usupashvili suggested an amendment to the constitution that Georgia aspires “to join the Euro-Atlantic security and cooperation systems of democratic states.” The proposal comes  amid the discussion at the Parliament of Georgia about the initiative from group of citizens to  declare Georgia as non-aligned state.  At a special briefing today, Davit Usupashvili said that the application on Georgia’s non-aligned status will be discussed at bureau meeting on Monday.

“On Monday, parliament has to discuss one of the appeals requesting to change Georgia’s status in constitution as non aligned country, which would mean to restrict Georgia’s further Euro-Atlantic integration. One of the authors of this initiative is Nino Burdjanadze. They will be given the floor to discuss this matter, but I want to say that speculations on the issues of this importance are just unacceptable. In answer to this proposition I want to suggest new changes to the preamble of the constitution… and I want to encourage all the political forces with whom we announced our Euro-Atlantic aspirations to join this initiative. I’m sure we’ll soon get at least 76 signatures and future parliament will discuss this initiative and not the one that is proposed now.” - says Usupashvili

Georgian Constitution now says: “We, the citizens of Georgia, whose firm will is to establish a democratic social order, economic freedom, a rule-of-law and a social state, to secure universally recognised human rights and freedoms, to enhance state independence and peaceful relations with other peoples, drawing inspiration from centuries-old traditions of statehood of the Georgian nation and the historical-legal legacy of the Constitution of Georgia of 1921, proclaim the present Constitution before God and the nation”

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The issue has previously been on the agenda. In 2014, the United National Movement proposed to have Euro-Atlantic aspirations blueprinted in the constitution. At a time, the civil society (Up to 20 non-governmental organizations, including the Georgian Association for Reforms (GRASS)) were supporting the initiative. The initial reaction of the ruling coalition to the initiative of the political opposition was negative and many opposed it.

For a segment of the majority explicitly prohibiting potential foreign policy directions appeared to be unacceptable. For example, Georgian Dream MP Nukri Kantaria claimed that some people “may not be in favor of the pro-Western course, instead favoring a pro-Russian course.” Another Georgian Dream MP and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Zurab Abashidze, contended that even though the Georgian Dream coalition supports Georgia’s integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, this does not mean that any force wanting to join the CIS must be punished for that desire or that this must be prohibited.

Another segment of the majority believed that this amendment to the constitution will further deteriorate relations with Russia and complicate future negotiations with this country. It should be said, however, many believed that this amendment would have the opposite effect; it would be a signal that Georgia does not intend to deviate from its chosen course towards the EU or NATO.

In the 2008 referendum, 77 percent of Georgia’s population voted for integration into NATO.

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