Twelve European Foreign Affairs Committee Chairs: Foreign Agents Bill a “Hostile Step”

On April 5, the Chairpersons of the Foreign Affairs Committees of the Parliaments of twelve European states issued a joint statement expressing “deep concern” over the reintroduction of the “so-called Russian law on foreign agents.” They said it was a “hostile step against the European aspirations of the Georgian people and their future” and urged the Government to withdraw it from parliamentary consideration.

The Chairpersons said the law was “designed to stigmatize and weaken Georgia’s vibrant pro-European civil society and NGO sector.” They argued it “severely undermines Georgia’s hard-won European perspective and candidate status” since the enabling environment for independent associations and media “is at the core of democracy and crucial for the success of Georgia’s European integration.”

The Chairpersons emphasize that Georgia was granted the status of an EU candidate country on the condition that it would implement 12 steps outlined by the European Commission, recalling that only three steps have been implemented to date. They also remind the authorities in Tbilisi that the remaining conditions include the freedom of operation of civil society and the fight against disinformation against the EU and its values.

The Chairpersons “urge the ruling Georgian Dream party to withdraw it from parliamentary deliberations,” reiterating their support towards Georgia’s EU aspirations. They note that they “expect that Georgia upholds its commitment to the promotion of democracy, the rule of law and human rights” and “sincerely hope that the Georgian government will once again demonstrate its maturity and determination to integrate into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions, guided by the values of Western liberal democracy. The future of the Georgian people is at stake.”

The joint statement was signed by the Chairpersons of the Foreign Relations Committees of the Parliaments of the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

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