Information given in the news item is unverified and false.
Resume: Georgia and the World’s article is based on the status of a single Facebook user who expressed his negative attitude in regard to writing Georgia’s aspirations for European integration in its constitution. The user justifies his negative attitude by asserting that not a single country’s constitution includes such an amendment. In fact, there are ample examples of having similar amendments in the constitutions of various different countries. Therefore, the information published by Georgia and the World
is false. The fact was presented without prior verification or clarification.
Analysis: On 21 April 2017, the online media outlet, Georgia and the World, published a news article
entitled “None of the countries has ever written a similar thing in their constitutions – and Georgia is not a country!” The only information in the article is that it is a status update posted on Facebook by a Georgian immigrant who currently lives in Germany.
The aforementioned news item gives rise to multiple questions:
- The status and qualification of the author is ambiguous
- It is unclear why the publication of the Facebook status update as a news article was necessary and important
- Not a single fact is verified
- Every single fact in the status is the author’s interpretation without giving evidence. The stories claimed as facts are outright false
that a referendum is held throughout the entire territory of the country. Given the fact of the country being partially occupied, which renders the Government of Georgia unable to have control on the occupied territories, a referendum is not held on the entire territory of the country. Therefore, a decision was taken to hold a plebiscite in order to learn the public’s attitude. Georgia’s membership in NATO was supported by 77% of the population which provides a sufficient legal ground to have a respective chapter added to the constitution. This also means that the wish of a large majority of Georgia’s population comes true.
At the same time, according to the draft constitution prepared by the Constitutional Commission, the amendment will not be inserted into the body of text. Instead, there would be a transitional provision which says that the “constitutional organs, within the scope of their discretion, have to take every measure to ensure Georgia’s full integration into the European Union and NATO” (Chapter 12, Transitional Provisions, Article 78 – Integration into the European and Euroatlantic integration).
The aforementioned Facebook post argues that not a single constitution in the world gives space for such a kind of amendment which is a further outright lie. The constitutions of several countries can be named as examples:
Czech Republic The preamble of the Czech Republic’s Constitution includes Euroatlantic aspiration as being a part of the democratic world whilst the Czech Constitution has a separate constitutional act (Appendix C) which details how it should become an EU member. According to its Constitution, the result of a referendum should serve as a ground for the country’s European integration
and includes the agenda for where and when a referendum would be held, the minimal results which should spur the integration process and the specific tasks for any given organ, etc. The content of the constitutional act is very similar to the chapter which is going to be included in Georgia’s Constitution because the former also proclaims that respective organs have to act in order to achieve membership in Euroatlantic structures.
Romania After the overthrow of the Communist government in Romania, the country adopted a Constitution
in November 1991. Since 23 November 2003, a first amended version has come into force. Both of the versions include parts about European integration.In the first amended version,
which has been in force since 2003, a separate chapter is designated for Euroatlantic aspirations. Chapter 6 of the Romanian Constitution (in total, the document encompasses eight chapters) details how the country should become a member of the EU and NATO (Chapter 6, Articles 148-149). The chapter is entitled “Euroatlantic Integration” and its Article 148 gives an explanation about the mechanisms for the EU membership process and the responsibilities of the Romanian President, Parliament and executive branch of the government. Therefore, the responsibilities in the process are also outlined. It is emphasised that the Parliament is responsible for creating a legal basis for the integration process whilst the President, Parliament, ministers and the judiciary are all responsible for its implementation.Romania became a member of NATO on 29 March 2004 whist it obtained EU membership
on 1 January 2007.
Estonia Estonia adopted its Constitution
in 1992 after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Later, a separate constitutional act, the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia Amendment Act, was added. That act details Estonia’s EU and NATO membership plan. It says that Estonia wishes to join the EU. The membership is based on the desire of the Estonian people and the EU’s respect for the fundamental principles of the Estonian Constitution. These principles are given in the preamble which says that Estonia is a member of the European family and is now getting back to democratic Europe.Estonia has been a NATO member since 29 March 2004 and an EU member
since 1 May 2004.
Latvia Latvia’s European aspiration is given in the preamble of its Constitution
which says that Latvia has always been a bearer of European culture and by the recognition of these values, the country serves its national interests – encourages sustained and democratic development of the united Europe and the world.
The Latvian Constitution’s following parts outline the ways in which this goal can be fulfilled. The Constitution says that a referendum has to be held for membership and details follow-up activities vis-à-vis the work of the Parliament of Latvia and the executive government, when the implementation process is to begin, etc. (Chapter 6, Article 68).
Latvia has been a NATO member since 29 March 2004 and an EU member since 1 May 2004.
Lithuania A similar amendment is featured in the Constitution
of Lithuania which says that the state ensures Lithuania’s citizens’ full-fledged membership in the European family. Lithuania has also adopted a separate constitutional act (Constitutional Act of the Republic of Lithuania on Membership of the Republic of Lithuania in the European Union) which says that considering the values of the EU, Lithuania aspires to become a plenipotentiary member of the EU and ensure the security of the country as well as the prosperity of its citizens in this manner.
Of note is that the Constitution of Lithuania includes the highest number of amendments in regard to European integration. In fact, there is an article attached to almost every topic which decrees its implementation in accordance with European values and thus respecting the choice of the Lithuanian people.Lithuania has been a NATO member since 29 March 2004 and an EU member since 1 May 2004.