'Foreign agent' law incompatible with Georgia's bid to join EU – ministers

  • 2024-05-10
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – As Georgia continues debating its controversial "foreign agent" law, the Lithuanian and Latvian minister say the bill is incompatible with the country's ambition to become an EU member.

"I can only repeat the European Union's statements that the decisions that are about to be adopted, perhaps even next week, are incompatible with further EU and transatlantic membership," Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told a press conference in Vilnius on Friday.

For her part, Latvia's new Foreign Minister Baiba Braze said the visible changes in Georgia, as well as the treatment of those protesting against the law, "are endangering European future of Georgia".

The ministers made the remarks amid ongoing protests in Georgia over the controversial bill.

If adopted, the law will require all independent NGOs and media organizations that receive more than a fifth of their funding from abroad to register as "an organization acting in the interests of a foreign state".

The opposition warns that the law could undermine the country's EU membership aspirations. Critics call the bill a "Russian law", referring to Russia's "foreign agent" law the Kremlin uses to silence its critics.

As a result, some MEPs are considering suspending Georgia's EU candidate status granted late last year.

The Lithuanian and Latvian foreign minister say they strongly support Georgia's bid to become an EU member.

"However, we must demand a bit more from our friends. The closest friends should be those who would be honest about where the chosen path leads to," Landsbergis said, adding he would be meeting with representatives of the Georgian government to discuss the situation.

Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili, who has distanced herself from the ruling party's policy, has vowed to veto the law, if it is formally adopted during its third reading.