State Department: Georgia’s EU and NATO Integration Threatened by “Foreign Agents” Law

Home / World / State Department: Georgia’s EU and NATO Integration Threatened by “Foreign Agents” Law
The United States condemned the Kremlin-inspired legislation on “foreign influence” that Georgia’s parliament adopted in the second reading, as well as false narratives that officials used to defend it. This message was released by State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. This legislation and Georgian Dream’s anti-Western rhetoric put Georgia on a precarious trajectory, the report says. “The statements and actions of the Georgian government are incompatible with the democratic values that underpin membership in the EU and NATO and thus jeopardize Georgia’s path to Euro-Atlantic integration,” Miller said. He said members of the ruling party had been clear that the intent of the law was to silence critical voices and destroy Georgia’s vibrant civil society, which serves as a critical check on government in any democratic nation. “Comments mischaracterizing foreign assistance in Georgia – which we have provided for 32 years to strengthen Georgia’s economy, democracy, and ability to deter Russian aggression – fundamentally undermine the strong relationship we have developed with the government and people of Georgia,” Miller pointed out. He added that the US supported the Georgian people and their right to be heard, and condemned the use of violence against peaceful protests, particularly against journalists covering demonstrations. “Use of force to suppress peaceful assembly and freedom of speech is unacceptable, and we urge authorities to allow non-violent protesters to continue to exercise their right to freedom of expression,” the State Department statement says. On 1 May, Georgia’s parliament adopted in the second reading the bill “On Transparency of Foreign Influence”, or the law on “foreign agents”, which provoked mass protests and was criticized by the West. Earlier, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze said that voting on the bill in the third and final reading would take place “in a fortnight”. The country’s President Salome Zurabishvili promised to veto the document, but the ruling party has enough votes to override it. Thousands of people have been protesting for several weeks against the bill initiated by the Georgian Dream. After the attempted violent dispersal of the rally on 30 April, the Special Investigative Service of Georgia launched an investigation into the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters. The European Parliament is already calling for Georgia’s EU candidate status to be taken away due to the Georgian authorities’ actions.