Estonian Parliament Threatens Dramatic Drawdown in EU Relations if Georgia’s Agent’s Law Stands

On June 11, the Estonian Parliament (Riigikogu) adopted a statement “On the Crisis of Democracy in Georgia” condemning the Georgian government’s decision to adopt the Foreign Agents Law and move away from the European path. The statement says that until the law is repealed, Estonia will block accession to the EU, impose sanctions on the Georgian authorities, and push for further sanctions from the EU, including the suspension of the visa-free regime.

The statement recalls Estonia’s consistent support of Georgia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and EU and NATO aspirations, including the support for its EU candidacy. The Parliament then stresses that by adopting the law on transparency of foreign influence (foreign agents’ law) and using disproportionate force against demonstrators, Georgia has violated the agreement reached in the EU’s 2023 Enlargement Package and has not implemented the reforms necessary to join the EU.

“The Government of Georgia has committed to fighting disinformation and attacks against the European Union’s values, to involving opposition parties and civil society in the political process, and to ensuring freedom of assembly and expression and the free functioning of civil society. Instead, the Government of Georgia and the parliamentary majority, as well as the oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili, have in recent months significantly stepped up their rhetoric against both Europe and Estonia,” – emphasizes the statement.

Robust and comprehensive sanctions

In view of this, as well as the clear negative assessment of the law by the Venice Commission, the Riigikogu calls on the Georgian Parliament and Government to withdraw the law and to cease violence against demonstrators, civil society, and opposition politicians.

The statement also calls on the government to investigate the officials and private persons who used violence against peaceful demonstrators, to uphold its commitment to promote the rule of law and protect human rights, and to implement the reforms demanded by the overwhelming majority of Georgian citizens, which remain a precondition for accession to the European Union.

The Riigikogu stresses that as long as these conditions aren’t met, the Parliament finds it necessary for Estonia to block the Council of European Union from “further processes relating to Georgia’s accession to the EU, including the opening of accession negotiations and the framework of accession conditions.” The Parliament also calls on the Estonian government to re-direct the funds earmarked for development cooperation from supporting the state agencies to supporting Georgia’s civil society.

According to the statement, Tallinn should urge the Council of the EU to impose entry bans on Bidzina Ivanishvili, founder and honorary chair of the Georgian Dream, government officials, and the parliamentary majority leadership. Similar bans should also apply bilaterally to entry to Estonia.

EU-wide travel bans are proposed for the police and security officials, as well as judges and prosecutors involved in repressions against the protesters, opposition, media, and civil society. If they are not supported by the EU, the Parliament urges the Estonian government to impose similar bans.

The Riigikogu also proposes to freeze the visa-free travel deal with the EU until the law is repealed.

The statement concludes with the Parliament expressing its respect for the “brave Georgian people who stand for Georgia’s democratic and pro-European future.”

Also Read:

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


Back to top button