- Jaba Devdariani, Soliciting Editor, Civil Georgia
- Régis Genté, Caucasus and Central Asia correspondent, Le Figaro, RFI (Radio France Internationale), France 24
- Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director General, DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission
Pavel Slunkin, Visiting Fellow, Wider Europe programme, ECFR
On March 7 and 8, thousands of Georgians took to the streets of Tbilisi to protest against a controversial draft law on “foreign agents”, which would require any NGO or media who receive over 20% of their funding from abroad to be included in a special registry and submit a financial declaration. Failure to do so would be punishable. Protesters argued this is a Russian-style legislation that would suppress freedoms in the country and hamper its EU integration path. The widespread protest against it led to the withdrawal of the draft law by Georgia’s ruling party. While the situation has stabilized since, the anger of the Georgians has deeper roots and reveals that the population is fed up with the political crisis and the government’s links with Russia. What are the chances for the people to influence Georgia’s path to the desired future? How is the government handling the reforms process for the EU accession process? What role does Russia play in Tbilisi? How does it affect the government’s stance on the reforms and war in Ukraine?