The EU urged Georgia to withdraw the law on “foreign agents” — it negatively affects its path to accession

Liza Brovko

The European Union (EU) supports the Georgian people, their European choice and calls on the Georgian authorities to withdraw the law on "foreign agents".

This is stated in the statement of the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and the European Commission.

First of all, the EU calls on the Georgian authorities to investigate cases of intimidation, threats and attacks on representatives of civil society, political leaders and journalists, as well as on their families.

Last year, the European Council granted Georgia the status of a candidate country on the condition that it fulfills the recommendations of the European Commission, which, in particular, require the protection of human rights, civil society, and media freedom.

The European Union has repeatedly stated that the content of the law on "foreign agents" does not correspond to EU norms and values and can undermine the work of civil society and independent media.

"Freedom of association and freedom of expression are fundamental rights that are the basis of Georgiaʼs obligations under the Association Agreement and any path of accession to the EU," the statement added.

Therefore, the adoption of this law has a negative impact on Georgiaʼs path to the EU.

Meanwhile, the President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili had a conversation with the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and thanked him for his solidarity and steadfast support of the Georgian people.

What is happening in Georgia

On April 8, 2024, the ruling party "Georgian Dream" registered a project on "foreign agents" in the parliament. The law forces media and organizations with a share of foreign capital to report, and also gives the right to the Ministry of Justice to arrange inspections with subsequent fines.

This is the second attempt to pass the law — a year ago, the vote was canceled amid large-scale protests and clashes. Now the voting is also accompanied by protests. Detentions near the parliament began on April 15, and on April 16 there were clashes with security forces.

On April 17, the Parliament of Georgia approved the controversial law on "foreign agents" in the first reading.

The European Union warned that the adoption of this law could stop Georgiaʼs European integration. In December 2023, the country received the status of a candidate for EU membership.

On May 1, the draft law was supported in the second reading and sent to the third. After that, protests resumed in Tbilisi.

The President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili proposed to postpone the date of entry into force of the law on "foreign agents" until November 1, that is, after the countryʼs parliamentary elections scheduled for October 26.