After days of large-scale protests and mobilisation of local and international stakeholders, we welcome the withdrawal by the Georgian Parliament of the highly controversial Foreign Agent Bill. Dropping this anti-democratic legislation was a necessary step for the continued development of democracy in Georgia, but the international community must be vigilant against further attempts to undermine political space.
We recommend the European Commission and Georgia’s international partners to focus on the following points to support democracy, political competition and the rule of law in a long-term manner:
- A new type of engagement with: enhanced support to transparency mechanisms and oversight bodies to hold the government to account and new diplomatic efforts and public communication aimed at engaging directly with Georgian society, from the national to grass-roots level.
- Recognise civil society and independent media’s prominent role in the accession process by updating the EU Roadmap for Engagement with Civil Society 2018-2024, mobilising NDICI cushion funds to enable a rapid and comprehensive response to support civil society priorities and considering Georgia’s participation in the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values (CERV) Programme.
- Set the ground to fairer and inclusive elections in 2024 through support for electoral reforms, campaign finance transparency, media actors and capacity building of citizen election observers during the pre-electoral period.