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Europe Is Ready to Play Hardball With Georgia

Europe Is Ready to Play Hardball With Georgia
The EU is willing to put Georgia's candidate status at stake in response to its “foreign agents” law.

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The European Union is considering taking a tough stance against Georgia after the ruling Georgian Dream party passed a controversial bill that has sparked protests and violent clashes in the capital. The bill, similar to Russia's foreign agents law, requires organizations receiving more than 20 percent of their funding from other countries to register as agents of foreign influence. The EU has urged Georgia to withdraw the law and uphold its commitment to the EU path. The United States has also warned of potential financial and travel restrictions if the bill is not changed. The EU is expected to discuss potential reactions to the bill, and some EU officials believe that the European Commission may not confirm Georgia's candidate status for EU membership if the bill is not withdrawn by October. The protests are mainly driven by the country's youth, who see the country's future only within the EU. The EU is being criticized for not taking a stronger position before the approval of the law. The EU is urged to sanction specific individuals in Tbilisi, such as those responsible for the crackdown of protesters and members of the ruling party. The EU is also being called upon to provide more visible support to the people of Georgia.