Speaker Papuashvili: Attempt to Ban Discussion on Agents’ Law, EU Funds Lack Transparency

Speaking to journalists today, April 23, Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili said that “EU funds in Georgia are not transparent,” lamented the strong international and domestic opposition to the GD-initiated law on foreign agents, saying “there is an attempt to ban discussion,” and said he is “absolutely sure that [EU High Representative] Joseph Borrell has not read the bill.”

“EU funds are not transparent”

According to Papuashvili, the “need” to adopt the law on foreign agents “stems from the interest of the Georgian people…[and] may not be in the interest of others,” referring to those “whose funds flow in Georgia in a non-transparent way,” saying that “EU funds in Georgia are not transparent either.”

In particular, he attacked the European Endowment for Democracy (EED), saying that this organization “hides its funds in Georgia, which is indeed contrary to European values.”

Papuashvili also added that he had been trying for a year to convince European structures that “by deviating from European values, financing radical groups and political parties in Georgia is a wrong act,” adding: “Unfortunately, I could not do it and that is why we have to adopt this law.”

“There is an attempt to ban discussion”

Papuashvili lamented that critics of the law refuse to discuss its content and, in his opinion, are trying to ban any discussion.

“In fact, there is an attempt to ban discussion, which is an anti-European act. In fact, this is an attempt to talk with slogans and not with content,” he said, adding that the ruling majority had tried to offer the “radical opposition” to discuss the actual content of the bill, but, he said, “they are tearing down the [information] posters where there is a link to the bill and they [the radical opposition] do not want people to read the bill.”

“Borrell has not read the bill”

He was then asked how he would respond to international critics of the law, such as EU High Representative Joseph Borrell in recent days. Papuashvili briefly said: “I am sure that Joseph Borrell has not read the bill, I am absolutely sure.”

Despite harsh criticism from international and domestic political circles and incessant protests from large segment of the society, the ruling majority continues to insist on passing the infamous foreign agents law, which targets the western-funded local CSOs and independent, critical media.

And while the West tells the Georgian authorities that the foreign agents’ law will lead the country away from the European path, the ruling majority reiterates the need for “transparency” of the CSOs.

The bill has already passed its first reading on April 17. The second reading is expected to take place next week, from April 29 to May 2.

Also Read:

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


Back to top button