EU foreign ministers demand sanctions against oligarchs in Georgia and Moldova - POLITICO
Sanctions in Georgia and Moldova
Several European foreign ministers have called on the EU to impose sanctions on oligarchs involved in “attempts to destabilize” Moldova and Georgia amid growing concerns about Russian interference in the internal affairs of these countries, writes the American publication POLITICO.
“These two countries are facing attempts at destabilization that require our utmost vigilance and could justify us starting to consider imposing sanctions on those responsible for these attempts,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonnat said ahead of a meeting of foreign minister affairs of the European Union.
The foreign ministers of Romania and Estonia also called on the bloc to impose sanctions against pro-Russian oligarchs in Moldova.
Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said the EU “is obligated to create and implement a new sanctions mechanism against Russian proxy agents.”
Meanwhile, two weeks ago in Tbilisi, thousands of people announced a protest against the scandalous bill on “foreign agents”, which many said was too close to a similar Russian law.
The ruling Georgian Dream party backed the bill three days later, and more Georgians feared their government is getting too close to Russia.
Moldova received the status of a candidate member of the EU together with Ukraine, and Georgia will have to carry out a number of reforms, including limiting the political and economic influence of the oligarchs, the publication continues.
Pro-Russian Moldovan oligarch Ilan Shor is accused of financing protests against the pro-European government in Chisinau, the article says.
And, of course, Georgian oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili has well-known ties to Russia, where he made his fortune.
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On June 17, 2022, the European Commission prepared a report on granting Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova candidate status for EU membership. Ukraine and Moldova will receive the status of EU candidate and will be required to fulfill certain obligations, while Georgia will first be obliged to fulfill the 12-point plan and conditions, and only then have the chance to become a candidate.
On October 13, 2022 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) declared the Russian regime a terrorist organization and became the first international organization to adopt a similar act. Georgian Dream claims that it shares the general spirit of the PACE resolution, but does not support the document, because it does not agree with the protocol on the political conclusion of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili.
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Later the resolution was amended so that the Assembly requires “consideration of cases and release of political prisoners in opposition to President Putin, including a citizen of Ukraine and former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili” in the Russian Federation and other countries.
On November 8, 2022, MEPs discussed the annual report on the implementation of the Association Agreement between Georgia and the European Union at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Brussels. According to the compromise document, Ivanishvili is no longer mentioned as an oligarch, but in the chapter on deoligarchization his name and surname are indicated and it is says that it is necessary to take, among other things, legislative decisions regarding Ivanishvili’s excessive influence.
On February 3, 2023, the European Commission published a report on Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova’s compliance with EU law and rated Georgia’s compliance with EU foreign policy as “moderately prepared”.