Georgian Dream Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze believes that if the European Union does not remove the issue of deoligarchization from the 12 recommendations, it means that they do not actually share the approach of the Venice Commission.
As Kobakhidze explained in a conversation with journalists, if deoligarchization is not removed from the 12 points, then the law adopted by the Parliament will come into force.
“If it is not removed from the 12 points, then the law we have adopted will come into force. If they do not remove the issue of deoligarchization, then it turns out that they do not really share the approach of the Venice Commission. If they remove it, in this case the law will be revoked, if they do not remove it, the law will come into effect. However, we pledge once again that this law will in no way be applied in Georgia with Ukrainian methods. This law will not be used in Georgia for business racketeering or some vicious interests, which we remember bitterly before 2012. We made business racketeering a thing of the past in 2012. In Ukraine, business racketeering was carried out on the basis of this law, on the basis of the law on de-oligarchization. We will under no circumstances enforce this law with this rough approach, with the approach of business racketeering,” Kobakhidze said.
According to him, consultations on this topic will continue.
“Naturally, there will be consultations, we will certainly be interested in additional clarification, we will explain to them what is the contradiction between the positions of the European Commission and the Venice Commission. Of course, we are open to consultations,” Kobakhidze said.
In June 2022, the European Commission submitted a 12-point recommendation to Georgia for EU membership candidate status. One of the priorities in 12 points is deoligarchization.
In order to fulfill the recommendation of de-oligarchization, the ruling party has prepared a draft law based on the Ukrainian law, which provides for the creation of a register of oligarchs and declares that this law will not affect the founder of “Georgian Dream”, Bidzina Ivanishvili. However, according to them, Davit Kezerashvili, the former Minister of Defense and the founder of “Formula” television company, fits the criteria of de-oligarchization.
Although initially “Georgian Dream” did not intend to send the de-oligarchization bill to the Venice Commission, after criticism, the document was sent to the European structure.
The Venice Commission published an interim opinion on the de-oligarchization bill in March, noting that the document sent from Georgia is based on personal approaches and is not systematic, which would serve to strengthen institutions and the legislative framework.
After the interim opinion of the Venice Commission, “Georgian Dream” made some changes in the deoligarchization bill and sent it back to the Venice Commission for evaluation. The Venice Commission published its final opinion on June 12, stating that the draft law of the Parliament of Georgia is ineffective for defeating oligarchic influence and reiterated that instead of adopting a flawed draft law, Georgia should implement a systematic approach to combating oligarchic influence.
The opinion of the Venice Commission is shared by the European Union. According to the representation of the European Union in Georgia, it is better that the draft law on deoligarchization is not adopted.
However, Chairman of “Georgian Dream” Irakli Kobakhidze states that the statement of the European Union regarding the de-oligarchization law is not enough. According to him, it is necessary for the European Commission to remove the issue of de-oligarchization from the 12-point recommendations.
According to Kobakhidze, the ruling team will adopt the law on de-oligarchization in the third reading and will wait for the assessment of the European Commission. According to him, if the European Commission removes this issue from the 12 points, then “Georgian Dream” will no longer implement the de-oligarchization law and will cancel it in February.
According to the European Commission, de-oligarchization will remain in the 12-point recommendations of Georgia. However, it also stated that Georgia should use a systemic approach instead of a personal one (which is envisaged by the “Georgian Dream” draft law) in order to achieve de-oligarchization.