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FT: EU to freeze Georgia's membership bid if 'foreign agents' law enacted

by Chris York May 16, 2024 11:18 AM 2 min read
Demonstrators protest overnight against the Foreign Agent bill in front of the Georgian Parliament building on May 12, 2024 in Tbilisi, Georgia. (Nicolo Vincenzo Malvestuto/Getty Images)
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The EU will freeze Georgia's membership bid if it enacts its controversial "foreign agents" law, the Financial Times (FT) reported on May 15, citing three undisclosed EU officials.

The bill requires organizations that receive foreign funding to be labeled as "foreign agents" and mirrors repressive Russian legislation used to crack down on Kremlin regime critics.

Georgia's parliament passed the bill in its third and final reading on May 14.

"We have been very clear ... this is a showstopper," a person briefed on discussions between Georgia and the EU told the FT, adding: "(The Georgian government) knows what the score is."

The bill's introduction into the parliament has led to widespread protests across the country and criticism from the EU and the U.S.

On the day it was passed, the U.S. said it would be compelled "to fundamentally reassess" its relationship with Georgia.

Explainer: What’s behind ongoing protests in Georgia?
For the past few weeks, thousands of protesters have gathered every night in front of the Georgian parliament in opposition to the controversial foreign agents law that the ruling Georgian Dream party is attempting to pass. The final vote is set to take place on May 14. The law would

"We are deeply troubled by Georgia's Kremlin-style foreign agents legislation," White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said in a press briefing.

"(The United States) has been outspoken about our concerns with the legislation which runs counter to democratic values and would move Georgia away from the values of the European Union and also NATO."

The European Parliament overwhelmingly supported a resolution on April 25 condemning the law, emphasizing that "EU accession negotiations should not be opened as long as this law is part of Georgia’s legal order."

Attempts to pass the legislation have resulted in a month of mass protests as well as accusations of violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Police have been witnessed violently attacking demonstrators with tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets. Many protestors were also beaten by masked officers in scenes that were captured on video and widely spread on social media.

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