Monday, July 22, 2024

New Georgia Law on ‘Foreign Agents’ Could Impede EU Membership Application, According to JURIST

EU Condemns Georgia’s “Foreign Agent” Law, Puts EU Membership at Risk

The EU Warns Georgia’s Bid for Membership in Jeopardy Over “Foreign Agent” Law

The European Union has delivered a stern warning to Georgia, stating that the country’s recent adoption of a “foreign agent” law has put its bid for EU membership at risk. The European Council has expressed deep concerns, specifying that the new law represents a significant setback on Georgia’s path to EU integration. As a result, the EU announced a halt to the accession process to the European Union.

The controversial “foreign agent” law, which was passed earlier this year amid widespread protests, mandates that any civil society organization receiving at least 20% of its funding from abroad must register as an “organization acting in the interest of a foreign power.” Failure to comply could result in additional audits or punitive fines. Many have likened the new law to Russian legislation bearing the same name.

Constitutional lawyer Davit Zedelashvili from the University of Tbilisi believes that the adoption of the “foreign agent” law indicates a troubling trend towards cracking down on election monitoring organizations and expanding electoral fraud legislation. UN Human Rights Chief Volker Türk also expressed concerns, warning that the law undermines freedom of expression and association by unfairly stigmatizing organizations as foreign agents.

Prior to the passage of the law, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili had expressed intentions to apply for full EU membership in 2024. The European Parliament had supported a motion granting Georgia a European perspective, moving them closer to the application process. However, with the recent developments surrounding the “foreign agent” law, Georgia’s EU membership aspirations may now be in jeopardy.

As civil unrest and protests continue in response to the new law, the EU has called for an end to acts of intimidation and violence, reaffirming its solidarity with the Georgian people. The situation remains tense as Georgia finds itself at a critical juncture in its relationship with the European Union.

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