Irakli Kobakhidze, the Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Wednesday said the Georgian authorities had showed “utmost respect” to the European institutions by forwarding the proposed domestic bill on transparency of foreign influence, which passed the first reading at the country’s Parliament on Tuesday, to the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe for opinion.
In his remarks over the latest developments in the country around the controversial bill that involves registration of non-commercial legal entities and media outlets in the country as “agents of foreign influence” if they derive more than 20 percent of their income from abroad, Kobakhidze noted “we are waiting for the conclusion from the Venice Commission and will continue to act accordingly”.
Linking this bill to the [European Union] membership candidate status [prospects for Georgia] is a mere speculation. We have shown utmost respect for the European institutions by forwarding this bill to the Venice Commission. We are waiting for the conclusion from the Venice Commission and will continue to act accordingly”, the GD official said.
“Ultimately, those forces that have funded radicalism and polarisation in Georgia will refrain from funding such actions in the future. This will be the result of this law, which is derived from the interests of our public”, Kobakhidze noted.
Josep Borrell, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, on Tuesday said the bill was “incompatible” with European Union values and standards.
The comments come after the Georgian police on Wednesday said it had arrested 66 people for “petty hooliganism”, disobedience to law enforcement and throwing “Molotov cocktails and stones” at officers during a protest against the bill outside the Parliament building in capital Tbilisi.