EU Commission’s 9 Steps for Georgia: what should be done to strengthen Parliamentary control? - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

EU Commission’s 9 Steps for Georgia: what should be done to strengthen Parliamentary control?

23 February, 2024

Strengthening parliamentary oversight, especially on security service, is one of the 9 steps, the fulfillment of which was requested by the European Commission as part of its decision to grant Georgia the status of a candidate country. To strengthen the parliamentary control over the security sector, the Government of Georgia in its action plan included only completion of the composition of the Trust Group of the Parliament, which is insufficient to fulfill the requirements of the European Commission.

Fulfillment of these requirements is of great importance for our country in order not to be hindered in the process of European integration and to move to the next step of opening negotiations on joining the European Union.

According to the European Commission's assessment, the oversight of the security service is limited, and according to its recommendation, Georgia should ensure effective parliamentary oversight, especially of the security system, as well as the independence and impartiality of its main institutions.

Completing the composition of the Trust Group alone, as this is defined in the action plan adopted by the government in response to the EC requirements, is insufficient to strengthen parliamentary oversight due to its limited mandate and authority.

The parliamentary oversight body lacks the necessary mandate and authority to ensure effective oversight of the security sector. The opposition’s role in the oversight process is merely formal.

To meet the European Commission’s requirements and enable effective parliamentary oversight of the security sector, the following steps should be taken:

  • To ensure comprehensive oversight of the State Security Service, the Parliament should establish a specialized body (a separate committee, a sub-committee, or a Trust Group with an expanded mandate). The composition of the specialized body/committee shall be determined proportionally to the representation of the factions and the number of MPs without factions;
  • The chairman of such a specialized body should represent the opposition and members of the specialized body shall have the highest level of access to state secrets;
  • The oversight mandate of the specialized body should encompass all facets of operations within the security service;
  • The standing expert oversight council should be established within the specialized parliamentary body that will oversee the State Security Service and be accountable to the Parliament.

On December 13, 2023, Transparency International - Georgia submitted a legislative proposal on strengthening parliamentary oversight of the security sector to the Parliament of Georgia. The Defense and Security Committee of the Parliament of Georgia declined the proposal.