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EU Proposes Visa-Free Suspension for Georgia Over Pro-Russian "Foreign Agents" Law

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Photo: EU Proposes Visa-Free Suspension for Georgia Over Pro-Russian "Foreign Agents" Law. Source: Collage The Gaze / by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: EU Proposes Visa-Free Suspension for Georgia Over Pro-Russian "Foreign Agents" Law. Source: Collage The Gaze / by Leonid Lukashenko

Several EU countries are pushing for sanctions against Georgia, including the suspension of visa-free travel, if the controversial "foreign agents" law is passed. This information comes from Financial Times sources.

Estonia, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Sweden are among the nations advocating for the discussion of restrictive measures against Georgia at the upcoming EU Foreign Ministers' meeting next week.

According to Financial Times sources, European governments are considering various ways to pressure the Georgian authorities. Potential measures include the suspension of visa-free travel for Georgian citizens, personal sanctions against certain Georgian officials, and the freezing of EU funds for Georgia.

EU representatives have repeatedly warned that the adoption of the "foreign agents" law would be a significant obstacle to Georgia's EU membership bid. The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, in an urgent opinion published on 21 May, "strongly recommended" that Georgia abandon the law in its current form.

Despite this, Georgia's ruling party, Georgian Dream, has announced plans to finalize the law in the coming weeks and has condemned international pressure following reports that US Congress members urged the Biden administration to prepare sanctions.

Georgian Dream claims the "foreign agents" law is necessary because non-governmental organizations allegedly attempted to "start a revolution" twice since 2020. However, Georgian civil society and most EU countries criticize the law for being a copy of a similar law adopted in Russia in 2012, which can be used as a tool for repression against the opposition.

The EU is likely to act more slowly than Washington in imposing sanctions, as some countries fear that suspending visa-free travel could backfire. This concern arises from the fact that tens of thousands of Georgians, wrapped in EU flags, have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest against the law.

"You have to be careful not to target the wrong people," said one EU diplomat.

Additionally, Hungary supports the Georgian government's decision, which could further delay the imposition of EU sanctions.

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