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Country of Georgia risks EU membership with foreign agents' law


Thousands of demonstrators gathered to protest "the Russian law" in Tbilisi Associated Press/Photo by Zurab Tsertsvadze

Country of Georgia risks EU membership with foreign agents' law

The Parliament’s ruling Georgian Dream party passed the controversial measure on Tuesday with an 84-30 vote. Civilians have taken to the streets for weeks in the capital of Tbilisi, protesting what some Georgians informally call the Russian law.

What does the foreign agent’s law do? The measure would require organizations that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad to register as “agents of foreign influence.” Organizations that refuse to register would face heavy fines. Ruling party members argue the law will promote transparency and bolster the country’s sovereignty. The law is an exact duplicate of the Putin law that Russia adopted to crush civil society, Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili said during an interview. She promised to veto the measure when it came to her desk, although another parliament vote could overrule her.

Why is this important? According to EU leaders, the law’s adoption would negatively impact Georgia’s application to join the European Union. The bloc has repeatedly called for lawmakers to retract the legislation as the measure is not in line with EU core norms and values, according to an EU statement. International debate over the legislation has framed Georgia as facing a choice between its Soviet roots or a democratic future with Western allies.

Where does the United States stand? White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan described the law as democratic backsliding. The Georgian Dream party’s recent rhetoric and legislative actions are designed to isolate Georgians from the United States and Europe, Sullivan said. He also reiterated the country’s choice between EuroAtlantic aspirations or a Kremlin-style foreign agents’ law.


Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.


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