Association Agreement will be signed by Georgia’s Prime Minister

Irakli Garibashvili: "AA will be signed by Prime Minister, namely by me.", 23 May 2014 - 16:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibahsvili will be Georgia’s representative and sign the Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union (EU) on June 27.

The Government’s Parliamentary Secretary, Shalva Tadumadze, announced the Government’s decision on who would sign the document at a special press conference at the Government’s Administration today.

"Given the high public interest, yesterday’s cabinet meeting focused on the legal and practical issues of signing the Association Agreement and it was decided that on June 27, the Agreement will be signed by the Prime Minister,” Tadumadze said.

The person who would sign the important document became a subject of discussion in Tbilisi, as some believed the Prime Minister should sign it as the head of the Government, while others argued the President should be the one to sign the agreement.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s Foreign Adviser, Vano Machavariani said yesterday, the country’s Constitution read the President was a competitive person to sign the AA and Margvelashvili was ready for further discussions with the Government to make the best decision regarding the issue.

Today, Tadumadze said despite Article 73 of the Constitution claiming the President represented Georgia in foreign relations, he needed consent from the Government in such occasions.

"The President would have been authorized to sign this type of agreement only if he had held negotiations about the issue. As negotiations with the EU had not been led by the President, as per Article 73, he lacks the power to sign the Association Agreement without the Government’s consent and subsequent counter-signing from the PM,” he said.

Tadumadze explained that if the President signed the agreement, it would not be able to acquire legal force without the Prime Minister’s counter-signature, which would lead to some confusion in the international arena.

Additionally, he said the Government was in charge of executing obligations given by the AA, so its leader, the country’s Prime Minister, was also in charge to sign the document.

Constitutional Commission member Levan Bodzashvili believed the AA should be signed by the President and the Prime Minister. He said a similar precedent was not provided by law or in practice, but at the same time, it was not prohibited.

"Given that the document is of historic importance and will determine the irreversibility of the future political orientation of Georgia, and moreover, will create an obligatory legal environment that will be restrictive for future governments despite their foreign policy and political orientation, it would be reasonable if the agreement is signed by both the President and the Prime Minister,” Bodzashvili said.

However authorities said it was not important which political figure signed the AA – what really mattered was Georgia would sign the AA with the EU.