EU condemns Georgia for adopting a harsh crackdown reminiscent of Russian laws

The European Commission issued a strong condemnation on Wednesday against a series of attacks targeting activists and journalists in Georgia, warning that these actions contradict the country’s aspirations to join the EU. This statement follows Georgian officials’ persistence in advancing a controversial law that would designate many civil society groups as “foreign agents.”
EU condemns Georgia for adopting a harsh crackdown reminiscent of Russian laws

Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, expressed solidarity with the Georgian people and their democratic aspirations towards a European future. He condemned the intimidation, threats, and physical assaults against civil society representatives, political leaders, journalists, and their families, emphasizing that such actions are unacceptable and urging the Georgian authorities to thoroughly investigate these incidents.

In recent weeks, numerous Georgians have been detained during protests against the ruling Georgian Dream party’s proposals. These proposals include labeling NGOs, campaign groups, and media outlets that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad as groups working to further the objectives of a foreign power. Using force, riot police dispersed protestors outside the premises during Tuesday’s vote in the parliament.

Additionally, academics and opposition figures have reported receiving threatening calls and physical assaults as part of what they describe as an orchestrated effort to silence criticism of the proposed law.

The EU has expressed concern that these actions could hinder Georgia’s EU membership aspirations, emphasizing that the proposed law contradicts EU core norms and values. Borrell highlighted that the legislation would undermine civil society and independent media, essential components of Georgia’s commitments under the Association Agreement and any path towards EU accession.

Initially, the statement from Borrell included Olivér Várhelyi, the neighborhood and enlargement commissioner, but Várhelyi’s name was later removed. This change does not reflect a difference of opinion within the EU’s executive but was made to convey a unified message on behalf of the entire Commission, emphasizing broader support for the condemnation of Georgia’s actions.