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The Daily Beat: 14 September

The US State Department imposed sanctions on over 70 entities and individuals involved in expanding Russia’s energy production and export capacity, operating in Russia’s metals and mining sectors, and aiding Russian individuals and entities in evading international sanctions. Bidzina Ivanishvili’s crony and former prosecutor general of the GD government, Otar Partskhaladze, is listed among US-sanctioned individuals. According to a State Department statement, Partskhaladze is sanctioned for coordinating with the Russian Intelligence Services officer and exerting Russian influence in Georgia.

Responding to journalists’ questions, EU Ambassador to Georgia Paweł Herczyński expressed hope for intensified efforts to achieve as much progress as possible in fulfilling 12 EU conditions, saying that only several weeks are left. Ambassador Herczyński also noted that all 12 recommendations are equally important, outlining deoligarchization, judicial reform, and media freedom as the areas where the EU expects more progress from the Georgian government to move further on its EU path.

On the sidelines of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s State of Unions address in Strasbourg, EU enlargement commissioner Olivér Várhelyi spoke about Georgia’s prospects for EU candidacy, reminding the government of the unfulfilled commitments and urging for prompt action. “Now, every minute counts because we want to come with the reports already in October. So, I do hope Georgia will be there,” said Commissioner Várhelyi.

The European Union Integration Commission, led by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashviliapproved the newly drafted De-Oligarchization Action Plan. According to the government press release, this action plan was prepared based on the Venice Commission and EU recommendations. De-Oligarchization is one of the 12 EU conditions necessary for obtaining EU candidacy, and EU officials consider it particularly important. The text of the Plan is not yet publicly available. The Venice Commission recommended shelving the previous draft law on de-oligarchization, citing high risks for political abuse and arbitrary application.

The Foreign Minister, Ilia Darchiashvili, is on an official visit to Ireland where he is set to meet with the Chairman of the Irish Senate, Jerry Buttimer; the Speaker of the Irish Parliament, Seán Ó Fearghaíl; the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence of Ireland, Vice Prime Minister Micheál Martin; the Minister of State for European Affairs and Defence, Peter Burke; the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Sean Fleming; and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Daithí de Róiste. Alongside bilateral issues, Georgia’s EU integration process and candidacy status will probably top the discussions’ agenda in Dublin.

A local media watchdog, “Georgian Charter of Journalistic Ethics,” issued a statement decrying Speaker Shalva Papuashvili’s alleged pressure on online media outlet – OC Media. In its statement, an organization described the incident as an attack on free media, calling on the ruling Georgian Dream party to cease the persecution of independent media outlets. Recently, OC Media reported that Speaker Papuashvili wrote a complaint letter to their donor following their decision not to publish his Op-ed.


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