EU Reportedly Crafting Its Own Foreign Agents Bill Days After Slamming Georgian Parliament

European Commission InternationalIndiaAfricaJust days after the European Union’s top diplomat threatened that Georgia’s adoption of a bill requiring transparency for foreign funding “may have serious repercussions on our relations,” a new report now claims the bloc is looking to adopt a similar measure of its own.Less than one week after insisting an attempt by Georgia’s parliament to ensure greater transparency in foreign influence was “a very bad development for Georgia and its people,” it’s being reported that Brussels is quietly working on its own version of a similar bill.”Just as Georgia erupted in protests over a similar bill,” mainstream outlet Politico wrote, “the EU was ramping up work” on a proposal which would require “both commercial and nonprofit organizations around the bloc reveal non-EU funding pertaining to transactions such as paying for academic study.””NGOs,” the outlet wrote, are already “bristling” because of a questionnaire issued by the EU Commission meant to inform an impact assessment that is expected in the coming months. The survey reportedly requests that NGOs explain their non-EU funding sources.Nick Aiossa, the head of policy and advocacy at Transparency International, told the outlet that the question about funding “took a lot of people aback.”AnalysisWhat is Behind the US-Backed Protests in Georgia?9 March, 17:52 GMTAn anonymous official with the EU Commission reportedly conceded that “it’s obviously a delicate matter” but attempted to downplay the apparent double standard, insisting the executive branch of the EU is “still in the early stages of gathering information from a wide range of stakeholders to make sure we are taking the right approach.”Meanwhile, the proposed law in Georgia, which would have required groups that received over 20% of their funding from abroad to register as foreign agents, was withdrawn last week after violent riots left dozens of police injured by rocks and molotov cocktails. Though many countries have passed similar laws in recent years, the bill being considered by Georgia’s parliament was widely pilloried as a supposed imitation of a Russian foreign influence law by mainstream media and European politicians.

"The law in its current form risks having a chilling effect on civil society and media organizations, with negative consequences for the many Georgians benefiting from their work," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell insisted, adding "this law is incompatible with EU values and standards."

What’s more, the law “goes against Georgia’s stated objective of joining the European Union,” insisted Borrell, who threatened the country with what many interpreted as an ultimatum: “its final adoption may have serious repercussions on our relations.”As of publication, no such condemnation of the EU’s proposed bill had been issued by Borrell’s office.


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