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European Parliament adopts resolution condemning Georgia's foreign agents law

by Nate Ostiller April 25, 2024 4:02 PM 2 min read
Protestors demonstrating against the controversial foreign agents law outside the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi on April 16, 2024. (Vano Shlamov/AFP via Getty Images)
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The European Parliament overwhelmingly supported a resolution condemning Georgia's controversial foreign agents law in a vote on April 25.

Georgia's parliament passed a controversial foreign agents bill in its first reading on April 17. The bill, which must be passed on two more readings before it becomes law, would require organizations that receive foreign funding to be labeled as "foreign agents."

It would also allow authorities to more strictly monitor communications, including internal discussions, by such organizations.

The bill was first introduced in 2023 by Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze's ruling Georgian Dream party, but was abandoned after it sparked mass demonstrations.

The Georgian Dream party recently reintroduced the legislation in parliament, renaming it a bill on the "transparency of foreign influence" but keeping the intent of the previous law essentially identical.

The bill is widely known in Georgia as the "Russian law" for its resemblance to similar legislation passed in Russia, used to target Kremlin critics.

The European Parliament's resolution emphasized that "EU accession negotiations should not be opened as long as this law is part of Georgia’s legal order."

The foreign agents law "betrays the aspirations of the large majority of the Georgian people" and "run(s) counter to the Copenhagen criteria for EU membership," the resolution said.

Georgia was offered candidate status to the EU by the European Commission in December 2023.

EU officials have previously strongly suggested that the law's passage would hurt Georgia's chances of becoming a member of the EU.

Mass protests against the proposed law and Georgian Dream have continued on a daily basis since the announcement of the law's revival earlier in April.

Georgian parliament moves forward with controversial foreign agents law as protests continue
The legislation was approved by 83 lawmakers of Georgia’s 150-member parliament, with opposition lawmakers boycotting the vote.
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