Letter from Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday sent a letter to Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. Agenda.ge offers its readers a full text of the Prime Minister’s letter:
As you may know, a resolution was adopted on Georgia by the European Parliament on June 9, 2022. Unfortunately, it contains multiple baseless entries and factual inaccuracies, about which I am ready to provide detailed information if necessary.
Concerns are expressed in the resolution in question: “about the destructive role played by the sole oligarch, Bidzina Ivanishvili, in the politics and economy of Georgia, and the level of control he exercises over the government and its decisions, including those concerning the politically motivated persecution of journalists and political opponents”. Resolution also appears “deeply concerned about Ivanishvili’s exposed personal and business ties to the Kremlin, which determine the position of the current Georgian government vis-à-vis sanctions against Russia.” Furthermore, it “calls on the Council and the democratic partners to consider imposing personal sanctions on Ivanishvili for his role in the deterioration of the political process in Georgia”.
The above entries of the resolution adopted by the European Parliament are not based on any evidence and are intended to discredit the current system of governance in Georgia. Opponents have never produced any evidence of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s involvement in politics or the judiciary; furthermore, he no longer runs any businesses in the country and there are no precedents of any kind regarding alleged personal or business dealings with Russia. Thus, everything noted in the Resolution on informal governance is totally fictitious.
For obvious reasons, I will not dwell on Bidzina Ivanishvili’s outstanding contribution to ending the undemocratic regime in Georgia in 2012 and to ensuring the country’s fundamentally democratic progress from 2012.
I will only draw your attention to absolutely unfounded accusations concerning informal governance, which is particularly insulting to me. Allegations about the government led by an individual who left politics voluntarily a year and a half ago, rather than its prime minister, are offensive to me personally and to my country.
Furthermore, the entries in the resolution are used by the radical opposition wing to further deepen the polarization in Georgia and this is also problematic for my country.
In addition, Resolution was directly used by a Swiss bank to suspend payment of trust funds to Bidzina Ivanishvili. Thus, the bank uses the document produced by the European Parliament to violate the legitimate right of the former Georgian Prime Minister, which also discredits the country.
I am delighted that the European Commission and the Council did not share the absolutely unfounded vocation of the European Parliament and I personally express my gratitude to you.
Nevertheless, it is essential that the European Commission expresses its clear position on these unfounded accusations conveyed in the resolution in question in order to fully neutralize the negative impact of the resolution adopted by the European Parliament. A clear position of the European Commission is an essential prerequisite to avoid deepening the perception of injustice of the Georgian people towards the European institutions and to prevent the radical wing of the opposition from deepening the polarization on the basis of the resolution adopted by the European Parliament.
In addition, an assessment document published by the European Commission on Georgia mentions a term of “deoligarchisation” similar to the documents relating to Ukraine and Moldova. Our political opponents and their lobbyists in the European Parliament actively refer and note that the European Commission made an entry on deoligarchization in its document because of Bidzina Ivanishvili. As I have noted before, Bidzina Ivanishvili has no formal or informal influence on Georgian politics or media and he cannot be considered an oligarch by any legal or political criteria. Contrary to the above, there are several wealthy individuals with criminal backgrounds, who actively influence politics and the media in favor of the radical wing of the opposition. I cannot urge you to call them oligarchs, but to ensure that the European Commission’s assessment document is not used to manipulate or discredit the system of governance in Georgia, I urge the Commission to clearly distance from the personification of an entry on deoligarchization. Also in this case, the clarity of the position expressed by the European Commission is essential to leave no room for speculation, to maintain a high degree of trust in the European institutions in Georgian society and to facilitate a reduction of polarization in the country.
Attached, please find attached my letter published in Georgia a few days ago with a detailed clarification of the main values and principles that guide the system of governance in my country. I believe that the letter in question will give you a clear idea of why the radical wing of the opposition is fighting against Bidzina Ivanishvili, even after her complete exit from politics.