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EU Member States Criticize Georgia’s “Foreign Agent” Draft Law

Individual EU member states express their criticism towards the draft “foreign agent” law elaborated by People’s Power and actively promoted by the ruling Georgian Dream party.  The Norwegian MFA commented on the bill, tweeting it is “against Georgian people’s steadfast European aspirations and international human rights obligations.” The MFA of Norway unequivocally said the adoption of the bill will negatively affect bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Norway provides funding for a rather extensive project portfolio in Georgia that includes promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community. Norwegian investors are involved in Georgia in several areas, including in green energy (more specifically, hydropower), transport and shipping, and fish farming.  According to Helene Sand Andresen, the Norwegian Ambassador their main priority from the previous years – assisting Georgia in its European and Euro-Atlantic integration – will continue in 2023. Norway will remain Georgia’s close partner and supporter in this historic undertaking.

Maaike Van Koldam, the Dutch Ambassador to Georgia, expressed concern about the draft law on agents of foreign influence. According to van Koldam, the Dutch Embassy is a major donor and “supporter of civil society organizations”. Later, she tweeted: “Strong civil society & media freedom are crucial in Georgia reform process and will continue to receive Netherlands’ full support. The draft law is inconsistent with EU aspirations and EU norms and values.”

According to Ulrik Tideström, Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia, draft law on “agents of foreign influence” is inconsistent with  EU norms and values, and with Georgia’s EU aspirations. Civil society and free media are at the core of democracy, development and EU integration.

The “People’s Power” introduced its draft law — titled “On Transparency of Foreign Influence” — in Parliament on February 14 for debate. The draft law stipulates that all media outlets and NGOs that receive more than 20% of their funding from foreign sources should register as “foreign agents” and report their total annual revenue.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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