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NATO Parliamentary Assembly Bureau Urges Georgia's Return to Democratic Reforms

By Liza Mchedlidze
Monday, May 27, 2024
The NATO Parliamentary Assembly recently released a statement marking the 25th anniversary of its important partnership with Georgia as an Associate Member.

The NATO PA reaffirmed its commitment to Georgia's sovereignty, territorial integrity, democratic development, and aspirations to join NATO.

However, the Assembly expressed serious concerns over Georgia's recent legislative developments, particularly the proposed "Transparency of Foreign Influence" law. This bill is seen as a step backward for Georgia's democracy, conflicting with NATO and EU values. If enacted, it could significantly harm freedom of speech, civil society, and the media, undermining Georgia's democratic foundation and its NATO and EU aspirations.

"However, shared democratic values are the very foundation of the NATO Alliance and respect for these values is an essential condition for becoming a NATO member.

The law on the so-called "Transparency of Foreign Influence" is a step backwards for Georgia's democracy and runs counter to its NATO as well as EU aspirations and values. If this bill becomes law, it will severely damage freedom of speech and association and undermine Georgia's vibrant civil society and media landscape," the statement reads.

The NATO PA criticized Georgian authorities for resubmitting and passing the law despite a presidential veto and public protests:

"By resubmitting and passing the law, Georgian authorities broke their promise to their own people and to their international partners. They have responded to peaceful protests with unacceptable violence, and they have chosen to ignore the clear and consistent calls from their closest partners."

According to the statement, Georgia stands at a crossroads. To demonstrate readiness for NATO membership, Georgia must recommit to democratic reforms and withdraw the "Foreign Agents" law.

NATO PA pledged continued support for the Georgian people and their aspirations, emphasizing ongoing dialogue with Georgian representatives to reinforce these messages and support Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

"If the government and parliament want to demonstrate Georgia's readiness to join NATO in the future, they must return onto the path of democratic reform and democratic consolidation. This law, which the Georgian president has vetoed, must now be withdrawn.

The Georgian people have demonstrated again and again that they want a democratic Georgia - in the EU and in NATO. They have protested with courage against this legislation. We will continue to support them and their aspirations," the statement reads.