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The News in Brief

Friday, June 16, 2023
Prepared by Messenger Staff

EU Expects Georgia to Address Excessive Influence on Political and Public Life, Says Pawel Herczinsky

According to Pawel Herczynski, the EU Ambassador to Georgia, de-oligarchization is recognized as one of the 12 key priorities. Specifically, it holds the fifth position among these priorities, and it was unanimously agreed upon by all 27 EU member states at the highest level, with the participation of heads of state and government, in the previous year.

According to the ambassador, the European Union has an expectation that Georgia will address the issue of excessive influence on political and public life.

Herczynski highlighted that the problem of oligarchic influence is not exclusive to Georgia but also prevalent in other countries, particularly former Soviet nations. The Venice Commission has expressed concerns about the approach taken by Georgia's ruling majority in the 'Deoligarchization Bill', emphasizing the associated risks.

The Ambassador called for a systemic approach, as recommended by the Venice Commission, to strengthen Georgia's state institutions. This includes promoting accountability, transparency, fair financing of political campaigns and elections, safeguarding media freedom, reforming the justice system, and combating corruption at the highest levels. The ultimate aim is to create an environment where wealthy individuals cannot exert undue influence on public and political life.

The EU Ambassador stated that the European Union is committed to supporting Georgia with its expertise and experts, based on the chosen path of the country's political elite.

"This is not only a problem of Georgia, but it is a problem of many other countries, especially in former Soviet countries. The Venice Commission has made it very clear that the approach chosen by the ruling majority, namely in the 'Deoligarchization Bill', is not the right approach, there are many risks. That is why we expect a systematic approach, as the Venice Commission said. A systemic approach means many different things. This should be done to strengthen the state institutions of Georgia. It concerns accountability, transparency, financing of political campaigns, financing of elections, freedom of media, reform of justice, and fighting against corruption at the highest level. So the whole environment should be created so that rich people do not have influence on public and political life. We, the European Union, are here to help you with our expertise, experts, whatever path the political elite in Georgia chooses," Herczynski said.

Kobakhidze Condemns Diplomats 'Encouraging' Polarization in Georgia

"A particular diplomat directly promoted the use of disrespectful and vulgar language and encouraged polarization," responded Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the "Georgian Dream" party, regarding the protest carried out by citizens in front of the parliament on June 2. The protesters displayed banners with inscriptions such as 'Irakli Russian', and "Call Him whatever you want," among others.

According to Kobakhidze, it is fundamentally unacceptable for them when specific diplomats in Georgia encourage polarization.

"At the time, the same group, referred to as these so-called stubborn people, organized a provocation in front of the parliament building, holding banners containing profanity. This incident was justified as freedom of expression by a particular diplomat, who directly encouraged hate speech, profanity, and polarization.

It appears that certain individuals, these stubborn people, interpreted this as a green light and organized another provocation in recent days. For us, it is fundamentally unacceptable when specific diplomats encourage polarization in Georgia. They should address the growing polarization within their own country. Let them not exacerbate polarization with us," said Kobakhidze.