EU Ambassador: Transparency of Foreign Influence bill incompatible with EU norms and values

11.04.24 14:16

The EU Ambassador Paweł Herczyński addressed the draft law on Transparency of Foreign Influence, stating that it is incompatible with EU norms and values.


“You ask me what steps have been implemented, and what steps have not been implemented. Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to tell you exactly. There will be an assessment by the European Commission. The assessment is ongoing and the results of this assessment will be made public in October this year. What I can tell you is that the time is running out, and we need to accelerate. We need to make progress. We need to make sure that there is enough progress on all nine steps so that the European Commission will be in a position to give positive recommendations. At the same time, unfortunately, I have to admit that there are some open issues that require further discussion. Where there’s still a need for a better understanding between the European Commission and Georgian authorities. Unfortunately, also there is an issue of this latest initiative, of the draft law on foreign influence, that in our view is incompatible with EU norms and EU values as very clearly stated by the spokesperson of the high representative/ vice-president.


The spokesperson of the high representative/ vice-president Borrell was very clear in his statement. The statement was issued only 24 hours after this initiative resurfaced. We are seriously concerned. Legitimate concerns about transparency should not be an excuse to limit the space and to stigmatize civil society organizations. Freedom of speech, and freedom of media are absolutely essential for every democracy. This includes Georgia, especially as a candidate country for EU membership. Simply this law is not okay. And this is not a European law, and this is not American law, as you have heard loud and clear from the US ambassador yesterday. I understand that there are concerns about transparency. I also understand that there are other ways to ensure transparency and we are all in favor of transparency. But this should not be done at the expense of limiting the possibility of very good, very important and essential work that civil society organizations are doing to the benefit of the Georgian population.


The European Union’s position has been made loud and clear 24 hours after this draft law has been put forward. We have serious concerns. In our view, concerns about transparency should not be used as an excuse to limit the space for civil society organizations, to limit the freedom of speech and the freedom of media. This is incompatible with what the European Union stands for.

We have nothing against transparency. We consider ourselves proud of our transparency. We know that civil society has different obligations, including, they need to file tax declarations. We have nothing to hide, on the contrary, we consider ourselves best friends of Georgia. We have opened our door for Georgia to become one of us. We are waiting for Georgia to sit around the table as one of the EU member states. And we sincerely hope that this moment will come as soon as possible. This is why we want to strengthen Georgia. We want Georgia to be more resilient. We want Georgia to be more democratic. And civil society organizations are playing an essential role in every democracy,” Herczyński declared.




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