Baltic, Czech, Dutch, Polish and French parliament speakers urge Georgia to withdraw "foreign agents" law

  • 2024-05-27
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The speakers of the parliaments of Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Poland and France are calling on Georgia to withdraw the "foreign agents" law, as Saeima Press Service informed LETA.

The seven countries' parliament speakers have sent a joint letter to the Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, stressing that the law on transparency of foreign influence is incompatible with European norms and values.

The idea to call on Georgia to withdraw this controversial law was proposed during a meeting last week in Riga between Saeima Speaker Daiga Mierina (Greens/Farmers) and Marketa Pekarova-Adamova, Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic.

In their letter, the seven countries' parliament speakers emphasize that the "foreign agents" law seeks to silence media and civil society organizations that played a vital role in a democratic society and were instrumental in helping Georgia on its path to the EU.

"We urge you to withdraw this law and engage in a meaningful and inclusive dialogue with organized civil society and citizens. We also urge you to respect the fundamental values by upholding the rights of people to assembly and discontinue the use of violence and intimidation against the peaceful demonstrators," the speakers say in the letter.

According to the speakers, recent decisions by Georgia are a matter of concern for them since they run contrary to those values and principles Georgia has committed to be guided by and that are at the core of its European aspirations.

"We have seen remarkable political transformation and enormous efforts you invested in the reform progress in the previous years. You have led the way and set an example for other aspirants to follow. We have proudly supported you and are committed to continue providing all the necessary assistance you need to continue on this path," the speakers said, underlining that Georgia's European aspirations and efforts had been rightly recognized by the EU member states, and that Georgia had been given a clear path to start accession negotiations.

"The decision to pursue EU membership is a sovereign choice of Georgia and its people as it was for those of us who joined the EU 20 years ago. That path was neither guaranteed, nor easy. Unwavering commitment and support of friends made it possible," the speakers say in the letter.

"We sincerely hope that Georgia will not renege on its commitment to seize the historic window of opportunity that allows Georgians to be part of a union of peace and prosperity, as well as freedoms and values. We believe in Georgia's European future and are committed to supporting you", says the letter.

The letter was signed by Mierina, Lithuanian Seimas Speaker Viktorija Cmilyte-Nielsen, Estonian Riigikogu President Lauri Hussar, Pekarova-Adamova and Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil, Dutch House of Representatives Speaker Martin Bosma, Polish Sejm Marshal Szymon Holownia and Senate Marshal Malgorzata Kidawa-Blonska, and French National Assembly President Yael Braun-Pivet.

Georgian President Zourabichvili has vetoed the controversial law on foreign influence that the Georgian Parliament adopted on May 14 and which has sparked weeks of mass protests.

However, the governing Georgian Dream party has sufficient votes in parliament to override the veto.