Georgia permanently adopts “foreign influence” law and withdraws from the EU

“The Georgian Parliament voted to overcome the presidential veto of the ‘foreign influence’ law, despite massive protests and international condemnation,” summary The Guardian on May 28.

This Tuesday again, reported the site Civil Georgia after the vote of the elected officials, “Thousands of demonstrators gathered near the Parliament grounds. Rustaveli Avenue is blocked. Heavily equipped police officers are mobilized.” Opposition deputies joined the protesters mobilized daily, often young, recalls the Georgian media.

In the crowd, some shouted “Russians!” And “slaves!” to the parliamentarians who were leaving the building, observed The New York Times.

“Russian law”

The law requires any NGO or media organization receiving more than 20% of its funding from abroad to register as an“organization pursuing the interests of a foreign power”. The ruling party, Georgian dreamassures that this measure accompanied by sanctions is intended to force organizations to be more “transparent” on their financing. For its opponents, the text is inspired of a Russian law used by Moscow to repress dissenting voices.

So, remember Politico, Franco-Georgian President Salomé Zourabichvili refused to promulgate what she describes as “Russian law” Who “contradicts our Constitution”. Parliament therefore ignored it, most of the opposition elected representatives having preferred to abstain. A simple majority was enough.

“Georgia’s European aspirations can only be preserved through regime change,” declares to Politico Tina Bokuchava, MP from former President Saakashvili’s United National Movement opposition party. A reference to the legislative elections scheduled for next October.

“European dream in tatters”

The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, warned again on Tuesday that this vote would affect the prospect of accession of Georgia, which was granted candidate status last December. On Monday, representatives of seven Member States including France had called on the Georgian Parliament to withdraw the law, recalls The Guardian.

For its part, the United States announced travel bans and other sanctions for politicians “accomplices in the work of undermining democracy in Georgia”, reports Politico. Thus, the final adoption of the law increases “the growing quarrel with Washington and Brussels has gone up several notches”, estimates the pan-European media which headlines on “Georgian EU dream in tatters”.

“Very sad day for Georgia and the rest of Europe, reacted the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabrielius Lansbergis, quoted by Civil Georgia. The adoption of this law de facto puts Georgia’s accession to the EU on hold, without anyone benefiting from it. Almost nobody.”

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