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Let me welcome you in my capacity as the Chairman of the XVIIth Conference of European Constitutional Courts! As decided by the Preparatory Meeting of the Presidents of September 2012 in Vienna, the Constitutional Court of Georgia took over the presidency of the XVIIth Congress of the Conference of European Constitutional Courts. Consequently, in 2014-2017, all the high-level events including the Congress of the European Constitutional Courts will be held in Batumi – the hometown of the Constitutional Court of Georgia. We are proud that during the past 20 years Georgia is the first non-EU member state to hold the presidency of the Congress.
Bearing in mind the fact that Georgia has a lasting history of legal culture, the Constitution of Georgia derives from the centuries-old tradition of statehood and the fundamental principles of the 1921 Constitution of Georgia. The Constitutional Court of Georgia is the judicial body of constitutional review, which ensures the observance of constitutional provisions, separation of powers as well as protection of human rights and freedoms, recognized and guaranteed by the Constitution. The Constitutional Court of Georgia maintains tight contacts with relevant local and international stakeholders and remains engaged in numerous initiatives and will continue to do so in the future.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia became a full member of the Conference of the Constitutional Courts in 2000 in Brussels. The same year full membership was granted to the Constitutional Courts of the Republic of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Luxemburg, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine.

Starting from 1972 CECC has been headed by the Constitutional Court of Yugoslavia, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, the Constitutional Court of Italy, the Constitutional Court of Austria , the Swiss Federal Supreme Court, the Constitutional Tribunal of Spain, the Constitutional Tribunal of Portugal, the Constitutional Court of Turkey , the Constitutional Council of France, the Constitutional Court of Hungary, the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland, the Constitutional Court of Belgium, the Supreme Court of Cyprus, the Constitutional Court of Lithuania, the Constitutional Court of Romania and the Constitutional Court of Austria.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia has extended invitations to the presidents of the member courts of the Conference for the XVIIth Circle of Presidents to be held in Batumi on 9–11 September, 2015 where the participating presidents will decide on the organizational framework for the next Congress. After the first meeting in Dubrovnik in 1972, followed by conferences held in Baden-Baden, Rome, Lausanne, Madrid, Lisbon, Ankara, Paris, Budapest, Warsaw, Brussels, Nicosia, Vilnius, Bucharest and Vienna, in 2015 the full members of 41 countries, will be cordially welcomed to Batumi.

Batumi, with its convenient geographic location, historical significance and developing infrastructure is ready to host the Presidents of European Constitutional Courts and other similar European institutions "exercising constitutional jurisdiction with a view to sharing experience as regards constitutional practice and jurisprudence in a general European context and to maintaining regular contacts between these courts and institutions", as stated in the preamble of the Statute of the CECC adopted in 1999 in Warsaw.

I wish all of you success in achieving our common goal - espousing democratic, rule of law based societies – ensured through the protection of constitutional provisions and upholding of universally recognized human rights and freedoms.

I am looking forward to our discussions and am delighted to host all of you in beautiful Batumi.

Zaza Tavadze
President of the Constitutional Court of Georgia