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10 April 2024

‘This Will Divert Georgia from the European Path,’ US State Department on Georgian Foreign Agent Law

The U.S. State Department has raised its concerns over Georgia's draft law on foreign influence due to its potential to cause the country to deviate from the European path.

Protest against foreign agents law

Image: Murrr Photo/Shutterstock

(JAMnews) In response to journalist Alex Raufoglu’s question about the draft law on foreign influence in Georgia, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller stated that the United States is concerned about the possibility of this law being adopted.

According to Miller, the State Department believes that in this case, Georgia will deviate from the European path:

We are deeply concerned that if this draft law is adopted, it will harm civil society organizations working to improve the lives of Georgian citizens, lead Georgia away from the European path, and restrict independent media organizations working to provide access to high-quality information for Georgians.”

However, Miller did not give a clear answer on whether the US could impose any sanctions against Georgia if the law is adopted:

This is still a draft law, and it has not yet been adopted, so today I do not want to discuss possible consequences and possible steps we can take…”

On April 3, it became known that the ruling party “Georgian Dream” initiated the consideration of the draft law “On the Transparency of Foreign Influence” for the second time.

The government’s main argument is that the transparency of non-governmental organizations operating in Georgia is in question, posing a threat to the country’s security. However, neither independent experts, nor the opposition, nor civil society believe this argument and consider that “Georgian Dream” is attempting to prolong its stay in power and laying the groundwork for the parliamentary elections in October 2024 to suppress alternative views in the country.

The draft law on “foreign agents” was first initiated by the ruling party a year ago, in March 2023. At that time, it was passed by parliament in the first reading but was later withdrawn due to mass protests by citizens.