German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, during a joint press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, criticized the draft law on so-called Foreign Agents that the ruling Georgian Dream party resubmitted to parliament.

"We, along with the entire European Union, view the law on so-called agents very critically. After this law was suspended, we had hoped that it would not reappear on the agenda. The new bill has not actually changed and is almost the same as last year.

We very much hope that Georgia will not adopt this law. We expect the parliament to take into account our critical position and that of the Georgian population. Therefore, in our conversation, I once again emphasized the importance of civil society and the cooperation between the opposition and the government, which is crucial for public development," said Scholz.

The Georgian Prime Minister, Irakli Kobakhidze, stated that there is no alternative to transparency in a democratic state, noting that a similar law was recently supported by the European Commission.

"The draft law only requires non-governmental organizations to annually disclose their finances. So far, there has been no justification as to why these organizations should not observe the principle of transparency. Since my appointment as the Prime Minister of Georgia, I have insisted that all decisions of the Georgian Government be published. We have every right to demand a minimum standard of transparency from non-governmental organizations.

Regarding non-governmental organizations that act in the interest of foreign countries and take certain steps, there have been two cases since 2020 when the government was changed not through democratic elections, but through street demonstrations. Their financing, including illegal practices in recent years, has recently become illegal. We see that these organizations are not interested in publishing the mentioned reports and contribute to the polarization of society," said Kobakhidze.

The Georgian Prime Minister is confident that the law on "foreign agents" will contribute to the establishment of a "strong, grounded, fundamental democracy."

Ketevan Kardava, a journalist from the pro-government television company Imedi, asked Olaf Scholz a question about this issue. She wondered why European partners of Georgia are concerned "if the same or similar regulations are in force in Europe and the United States."

"The European Union does not have similar legislation. There is a discussion about establishing transparency in various areas, but this is a completely different concept. It has not been decided yet, and most likely, it will not be decided," said the German Chancellor.

When asked how he explains his position differing from that of European partners, the Georgian Prime Minister answered that he is ready for discussions with European, American, or local Georgian partners.

"Our positions are very firm. This law is very concise. No one can argue that disclosing finances can have a negative impact on the activities of any organization. If I have misspoken, I reiterate, we are open to discussion."

Kobakhidze stated that a "relevant discussion" was not held during the consideration of the draft law last year.

Yesterday, on April 11, the ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, Pawel Herczynski, stated that the bill resubmitted by Georgian Dream is incompatible with European values and is neither European nor American. Pawel Herczynski also noted that "there are other ways to ensure transparency."

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