Parliament Speakers of seven nations address Shalva Papuashvili
Parliament Speakers of seven nations address Shalva Papuashvili

Speakers of the Lithuanian Seimas and Parliaments of other European Union Member States on Monday addressed Georgian Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, calling on to withdraw the draft law on Transparency of Foreign Influence, “which is incompatible with European standards and values and seeks to silence the media and civil society.”

In an open letter, Viktorija Čmilytė-Nielsen, Speaker of the Seimas, together with the Heads of the Parliaments of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands, and France, expressed their support for Georgia on its path towards EU membership.

The full text of the letter is below:

“We are reaching out to you as Georgia’s partners and friends and the staunchest supporters of Georgia’s European aspirations.

We have been with Georgia every step of your EU integration progress. 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.

Georgia’s European aspirations and efforts have been rightly recognized and rewarded by the European Union member states. Most recently Georgia was given a clear path to start accession negotiations.

We celebrate your success with you and truly value the strength of our partnership and mutual respect that we have built over the years. It has allowed us to have a frank dialogue even on issues where we disagree. Because on the most important issues, on the issues of values and principles, we always were united and strongly committed.

Recent decisions by Georgia are a matter of concern for us since your actions run contrary to those values and principles you have committed to be guided by and that are at the core of your European aspirations.

The spirit and content of the draft law on Transparency of Foreign Influence, adopted by Georgia’s parliament, are incompatible with European norms and values. The law as it stands seeks to silence media and civil society organizations that play a vital role in a democratic society and are 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 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.

20 years on, Georgia is on that same path. You have friends in us. We truly hope Georgia does not waver in its commitment to using the historic window of opportunity to bring Georgia’s people into the common area of peace, and prosperity, but also freedoms, and values.

We believe in Georgia’s European future and are committed to supporting you.”