EU may close door on Georgia, EU diplomacy chief warns

If Georgia continues on its chosen path, the European Union might close its doors to the candidate member state, the EU’s head of foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, said before the EU Foreign Affairs council meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

Borrell warned the Georgian government about the consequences of the controversial "foreign influence" law. The bill includes a requirement for NGOs and media outlets that receive more than 20 per cent of their funding from abroad to register as agents “pursuing the interests of a foreign power”. The text is inspired by Russian legislation that the Kremlin has used for years to quell dissident voices.

“The door for Georgia to become a member of the European Union is open," Borrell said. "But if the government continues on the same track, continues doing what they are doing, this door will be closed, and the Georgian people will pay the consequences, will suffer the fact that the European perspective will be diminished or even cancelled."

Borrell said the EU didn't want to affect civilians. “We don't want to put more pain on the civilian people," he said.

Large demonstrations against the bill have taken place in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, and the US has denied entry to several Georgian officials.

The EU foreign ministers will today discuss possible actions. These could include halting funding for Georgia's security forces, cutting government financing or severing high-level contacts. Borrell has made it clear that no concrete decisions will be taken today.


European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell ​ © PHOTO FRANCOIS WALSCHAERTS / AFP

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