Georgia: “foreign influence” law “moves” country away from EU integration, says NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has called Georgia's adoption of a controversial "foreign influence" law inspired by Russian legislation to crack down on "a step in the wrong direction

Georgia: “foreign influence” law “moves” country away from EU integration, says NATO

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has called Georgia's adoption of a controversial "foreign influence" law inspired by Russian legislation to crack down on "a step in the wrong direction." opposition, believing that it “distances” this country from integration into the European Union (EU) and the Atlantic Alliance.

“We urge Georgia to change course and respect the right to peaceful protest,” Atlantic Alliance spokesperson Farah Dakhlallah said on social network X on Wednesday (May 15).

The Georgian president, Salomé Zourabichvili, pro-European and in open conflict with the government, is expected to veto the text, but Georgian Dream, the ruling party, claims to have enough votes to override it.

Candidate to join the EU

The aspiration to join the EU and NATO is enshrined in the Georgian Constitution. At the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008, the leaders of the member countries decided that Georgia could become a member of the Alliance, but the country has not yet been granted official candidate status. And this Caucasian country has also been an official candidate to join the EU since December 2023.

The White House, for its part, said it was “deeply concerned” and warned that the United States could “reevaluate” its relationship with this Caucasian country.

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, and the European Commission on Wednesday called on Georgia to “withdraw” this law. The adoption of this law "has a negative impact on Georgia's progress on its path towards the EU", stressed Mr. Borrell in a press release published jointly with the European Commission

The UN “deeply regrets” the adoption of the law

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, for his part, said he “deeply” regretted the adoption by Georgia of a law on “foreign influence”. “Authorities and lawmakers have chosen to ignore the numerous warnings from human rights defenders and civil society organizations. The impacts on the rights to freedom of expression and association in Georgia are unfortunately now likely to be significant,” Mr. Türk said in a press release.

“The ability of associations to seek, obtain and use resources is essential to their operation. This law, which is too vague, risks seeing associations stigmatized and having to face an atmosphere of distrust, fear and hostility,” underlined Mr. Türk. “The registration requirement could also have a deterrent effect on them, significantly reducing their activities,” the high commissioner added.

“Stifling diverse opinions on issues of major public interest will only complicate the government's ability to respond effectively to the many challenges facing the country with sound legislative and policy measures,” insists the UN official.