Georgia to drop “foreign agents” law following protests and international criticism
On 8 March Georgia’s ruling party stated that it would withdraw a controversial draft “foreign agent” law in the face of protests organised in Tbilisi, and EU and international criticism. The proposed draft law would have labelled non-entrepreneurial legal entities and mass media as “agents of foreign influence” if 20% of their total revenue came from foreign sources. A special register would have been created under the Ministry of Justice. The draft laws received wide criticism from the Georgian people and the EU and wider international community, and they could have hindered the country’s planned EU accession.
Philea, with its core objective of promoting an enabling environment for philanthropy, is pleased to see that the foreign agent law has been withdrawn. Philea reacted strongly when such a law was in the pipeline in Hungary, and has included the call for overcoming such barriers to cross-border philanthropy in its European Philanthropy Manifesto.
Several entities have issued statements against the Georgian draft laws on foreign influence:
- Statement from Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs
- Statement by the EEAS
- Statement of Commissioner Predrag Mijatović for Human Rights
- Statement from UN in Georgia
- Statement from Europe Foundation, Philea member