U.S. ‘Condemns’ Georgia's Passing Of  'Foreign Influence' Law, 'Concerned' By Tax Code Legislation

U.S. ‘Condemns’ Georgia's Passing Of  'Foreign Influence' Law, 'Concerned' By Tax Code Legislation

The United States on Tuesday condemned the Georgian parliament's vote to override the president’s veto by pursuing the Kremlin-inspired “foreign agents law” that fails to conform to European norms, TURAN'a Washington correspondent reports.

"The United States condemns this action," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told a daily briefing. "In passing this law, the ruling Georgian Dream Party moved the country farther away from the European integration path and ignored the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of the Georgian people who have taken to the streets for weeks to oppose this law."

Miller said that the Georgian Dream has disregarded the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission legal assessment and that of Georgia’s closest partners, who made clear their concerns that the law would stigmatize civil society and media and limit fundamental freedoms.

Critics of Georgian Dream, which was elected in 2020 parliamentary elections, say the party had reneged on promises to reform Georgia in line with EU standards and allow for its ascension to the bloc.

Miller went on to remind that the U.S. has launched a comprehensive review of bilateral cooperation with Georgia. "As Secretary Blinken said last week, we will take Georgia Dream’s actions into account as we decide on our own," he said.

When pressed by TURAN's correspondent about Washington's inaction, other than verbal condemnations, Miller pushed back reminding that Secretary Blinken announced last week that anyone who undermines democratic processes or institutions in Georgia, as well as their immediate family members, may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under a newly announced policy precluding travel to the United States.

"When we make further designations, those designations aren’t public. So you won’t necessarily know when we designate people with visa restrictions because they’re confidential under federal law. But the visa restriction policy that we announced on Thursday is not the only thing that we have made clear could change as a result of Georgia’s actions," Miller explained.

He added, "We provide Georgia $390 million dollars of annual assistance every year for things like military assistance, economic development projects, building institutions, civil society.  And we have to reassess all of that if the Georgian Government is going to now regard the United States and other Western partners not as partners anymore but as adversaries."

Along with the "Foreign Agent" law, the Georgian Parliament on Tuesday also moved ahead to override the President's veto on the so-called "Offshore law", which is about amendments to the Tax Code. 

"The United States is concerned by this tax code legislation," a State Department spokesperson told TURAN's Washington correspondent.

"Moneyval, the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body, has recently recognized Georgia's significant work in technical compliance on this issue.  There is a real possibility these amendments could increase money laundering risk and undermine progress," the spokesperson added.

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