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Demonstrators hold EU and Georgian flags during a rally against the reintroduced "Foreign Agent Bill" on May 3, 2024, in Tbilisi, Georgia. (Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/Getty Images)
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A group of 31 lawmakers from the European Parliament wrote a letter on May 7 to Josep Borrell, the EU's top diplomat, calling for the suspension of Georgia's EU candidate status.

The letter said the "continued undemocratic behavior of the Georgian authorities, in particular their aggressiveness in pushing through a 'Russian-style' law on foreign agents, silencing and using force against peaceful demonstrators, has crossed the line."

The foreign agents draft law would require organizations that receive foreign funding to be labeled as foreign agents, subjecting them to higher scrutiny. The legislation, scheduled for its third and final reading on May 17, would likely stifle NGOs and civil society organizations, including those that monitor election integrity and government corruption.

It mirrors repressive Russian laws used to crack down on Kremlin regime critics and is popularly referred to in Georgia as the "Russian law."

The legislation has been met with widespread condemnation in the West, and EU officials have openly said that its passage would hurt Georgia's chances of joining the bloc.

The attempts to pass the law have sparked mass demonstrations on a nightly basis in the country. In turn, the police have stepped up their repression of protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons.

The letter called on Borrell to "take a firm stance" that would "send a clear signal to the Georgian authorities."

Beyond calling for the suspension of Georgia's EU candidate status, which it received in December 2023, the letter called for a review of EU funding for the country and an "immediate assessment" of the status of the nine required reforms Georgia is supposed to implement as part of the accession process.

"In recent years we have worked tirelessly to support the Georgian people and their aspirations to join the EU. We remain determined to do so, but the democratic criteria for all EU candidate countries are the same and must be respected," the letter concluded.

Polling has consistently found that around 80% of Georgians approve of joining the EU.

Georgian government holds massive anti-West rally as it aims to pass ‘Russian-style’ law
TBILISI, Georgia – The ruling Georgian Dream party staged a massive rally in Tbilisi on April 29, with tens of thousands of people bussed in from around the country to support the country’s democratic backsliding. Party leaders, including Prime Minister Irakli Kobakhidze, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladz…
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