EU to Impose Sanctions on Georgia in Reaction to Controversial “Foreign Agent” Law

Eoin Kavanagh
Eoin Kavanagh
Eoin specializes in geopolitical analysis, with degrees in Political Science and Counterterrorism, and extensive international experience, including humanitarian work. Well-acquainted with challenging environments like Bosnia, Eoin primarily focuses on Eastern Europe. His strong OSINT and investigative skills are further enhanced by his proficiency in multiple languages, including rare ones, and his experience in data science and machine learning.

More From Me

The European Union announced plans to downgrade political contacts with Georgia and is considering freezing financial aid to the Tbilisi government. This decision comes after the Georgian parliament passed a controversial “foreign agent” law despite significant protests and international warnings.

Response from the EU

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated that the new Georgian law, which mandates NGOs and media receiving at least 20 percent of their funding from abroad to register as “foreign agents” under the threat of fines exceeding $9,000, represents a shift away from the European Union. Borrell emphasized that Georgia’s progress on the EU path is at risk if the government does not change its course of action. The EU will also reconsider its support for Georgia through the European Peace Facility military aid fund.

In response to the “foreign agent” law, the European Union is contemplating reimposing visa requirements for Georgians, as indicated by a leaked document. This potential action would reverse the visa-free regime that has been in place since 2017.

The document indicates that initial visa restrictions could be imposed on Georgian officials and diplomats. If there are incidents of violence against protesters or irregularities in electoral processes, stricter measures, including visa restrictions for all Georgians, may be implemented. These measures will be considered more thoroughly in the fall, ahead of the Georgian parliamentary elections scheduled for October.

Additionally, the EU is considering sanctions on top Georgian government officials and the suspension of financial assistance.

Response from the US

The United States also imposed visa restrictions on June 6 against dozens of Georgian officials, including members of the ruling Georgian Dream party, parliament members, law enforcement, and private citizens.

Washington has been a significant supporter of Georgia’s integration into Western institutions, providing more than $390 million in aid over the past several years.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has indicated that individuals or entities undermining democracy in Georgia would face repercussions.

Invitation to NATO Summit

Despite the controversy surrounding the “foreign agent” law, Georgia has received an invitation to attend partnership events at the upcoming NATO summit in Washington, scheduled to take place from July 9 to July 11.

The invitation was announced by US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien on June 24. O’Brien recognized the Georgian people’s desire for EU and NATO integration and emphasized that the current path chosen by the Georgian government is incompatible with these goals.

The summit is expected to produce significant agreements to support Ukraine and include discussions on creating a pathway to Ukraine’s NATO membership.