Georgia’s EU Dream ‘Foreign Agents’ Bill Becomes Law – POLITICO

The ruling Georgian Dream party has said the rules are necessary to prevent influence from abroad, accusing NGOs of promoting “LGBT propaganda” and trying to stage “a revolution”. With nationwide elections due in October, critics at home fear it could be a precursor to a Russian-style crackdown on civil society. Europe’s top legal authority has warned that the rules are similar to those in Moscow.

Washington has announced it will impose travel bans and other economic sanctions on politicians “who are complicit in undermining democracy in Georgia,” and the European Union said passing the bill would undermine the South Caucasus country’s hopes of joining the bloc.

Brussels granted Georgia EU candidate status in December despite concerns about backsliding on human rights issues and failure to implement key reforms.

Huge crowds took to the streets of Tbilisi as anger grew over the ruling Georgian Dream party’s Russian-style legislation. | Gabriel Gavin/Politico

Ahead of the vote, the bloc’s top diplomat, Joseph Borrell, spoke again warned The bill is “incompatible with EU values” and “will affect Georgia’s EU trajectory.” A specific response from Brussels, he said, would be discussed at a meeting of foreign ministers in June.

Speaking to POLITICO in the wake of the vote, Tina Bokuchava, head of parliament’s largest opposition party, the United National Movement, accused the government of “trying to take away the European future of the Georgian people.”

“Georgia’s European aspirations can only be secured through regime change. “Ahead of the October elections, it is essential that opposition leaders come together to repeal this Kremlin-inspired law and put Georgia back on the European path,” he said.

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