EU halts Georgia’s accession to the bloc

Tbilisi: Georgia’s accession to the European Union has been halted, and some of the bloc’s financial support to the South Caucasus country has been frozen after the Georgian authorities adopted a new law that critics feared would curb democratic freedoms, the EU Ambassador in Georgia said Tuesday.

According to Pawel Herczynski, EU leaders made the decision to halt the process during the last summit of the European Council, and it came in the wake of the Georgian authorities adopting the law on “foreign influence” despite weeks of protests.

In addition, a total of 30 million euros in financial support, earmarked for Georgia’s Defence Ministry in 2024, has been frozen, Herczynski said at a news conference.

“This is only the first step, there will be other steps. Our direct support to the government of Georgia will be limited, and we will seek to redirect support from the government of Georgia to civil society and the media,” he said.

“It is sad to see EU-Georgia relations at such a low point, when they could have been at an all-time high.” The law, which came into effect last month despite mass protests and a veto from the country’s president, requires media, nongovernmental organisations and other nonprofit groups to register as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power” if they receive more than 20% of their funding from abroad.

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