20 June 2024,   10:52
Olivér Várhelyi responds to the statement of Irakli Kobakhidze

European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi echoed Irakli Kobakhidze’s statement, expressing “very sincere regret that a certain part of my phone conversation was taken out of context”.

“As a Commissioner responsible for Neighbourhood and Enlargement I am in regular contact with Government officials of my portfolio countries, since communication channels always have to be kept open for direct political exchanges.

In the current political situation of Georgia, I have been investing major efforts in dissuading the Georgian political leadership to adopt the Law on Transparency of Foreign Influence which can undermine Georgia’s EU path.

Being fully aware of the very strong pro-EU sentiment of the Georgian society, during my phone conversation I felt the need to call the attention of the Prime Minister on the importance not to enflame further the already fragile situation by adopting this law which could lead to further polarisation and to possible uncontrolled situations on the streets of Tbilisi. In this regard, the latest tragic event in Slovakia was made as an example and as a reference to where such high level of polarisation can lead in a society even in Europe.

Once again, I regret that one part of my phone call was not just fully taken out of context but was also presented to the public in a way which could give rise to a complete misinterpretation of the originally intended aim of my phone call.

I am still urging the Georgian authorities not to adopt this law.

I ask this also as a well known and so far respected friend of Georgia.

I am continuing to support Georgians working towards a European future.”

Prime Minister of Georgia said that “in a phone talk, one of the European Commissioners listed several measures that Western politicians might take if the veto on the transparency law is overcome. While listing these measures, he mentioned, “You’ve seen what happened to [Slovak Prime Minister] Fico and you should be very careful”.