German Chancellor critical of Foreign Influence Transparency bill; hopes Georgia drops it
German Chancellor critical of Foreign Influence Transparency bill; hopes Georgia drops it

“From the outset, Germany has supported the decision to give Georgia a perspective for membership in the European Union. That’s why it was an important date for us that Georgia had its candidate status recognized by the European Union in December,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the joint press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze.

According to Scholz, it is now very important to organize this process “in such a way that, piece by piece, all the criteria required for membership in the European Union are advanced.”

“This is about the entire legal framework, the economic regulations that are associated with it, but of course also about the rule of law and democracy. We know, and this is of course very gratifying, that this is not just a government plan, but that membership in the European Union is also a major concern of the citizens of Georgia. There are surveys that show that an overwhelming majority of citizens actively support this and want to do everything they can to ensure that this process moves forward successfully. We are also happy because, of course, in these times a commitment to European values ​​is particularly important and also has a positive meaning for the European Union itself,” said Olaf Scholz.

The German Chancellor believes it is also crucial to discuss problems.

“We, like the entire European Union, were critical of the law regarding organizations with foreign influence and, after it was stopped, we very much hoped that it would not be reintroduced. Now there is a new legislative proposal that goes in the same direction. Our criticism remains the same as last time, and we hope that this law will not be passed in the same way, but that it will continue to be based on the critical statements that we and others have made about it. We believe that such laws are not necessary. In our conversation, I therefore once again pointed out the importance of civil society and the cooperation between government and opposition, which are of great importance for peaceful social development,” said Olaf Scholz.

At the press conference, the German Chancellor was asked the question: “You spoke about the transparency law and you expressed the hope that Georgia would not pass this law in this form. The Prime Minister said that regulation of this area is also important in Europe and that such or corresponding laws have been passed in many countries. Given this background, I would like to ask why our European partners are concerned when similar or analogous regulations in this area apply in both the EU and the USA,” to which Olaf Scholz remarked:

“The European Union as such has no such regulation. There is a discussion about doing something that creates transparency in certain areas, but that is a different regulation and a different concept than what is being discussed here. Nor has it been decided, and it may not be. There was once a regulation in Hungary that was struck down by the European Court of Justice,” said Olaf Scholz.