Borrell: The EU door could be closed to Georgia

The European Union, alarmed by the adoption in Georgia of a controversial law on "foreign influence", may close its door to the country, which has candidate status, warned the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell.

"The door of the European Union is open to Georgia," Borrell said before the start of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg, AFP reports.

"But if the Georgian government continues on the same path, continues doing what it is doing, the door will be closed to Georgia, and the Georgian people will suffer the consequences," he added.

On June 3, Georgian authorities promulgated a "foreign influence" law inspired by a repressive Russian law that sparked weeks of mass protests in the capital Tbilisi and fierce criticism from Western countries.

The United States banned dozens of Georgian officials from entering the country accused of involvement in the passage of that law, which was widely seen as a sign of rapprochement with Russia.

Georgia's ruling party, which has strengthened its conservative stance over the past two years, also introduced a bill in early June aimed at banning "LGBT propaganda" in education and on television.

European ministers will discuss the reaction to events in that country, but no decisions will be taken at this meeting, he added.

A list of options is on the table, including sanctions against Georgian officials. "We don't want to affect the population," Borrell explained to the press.

These measures include freezing military aid provided by the EU under the European Peace Mechanism, travel restrictions on certain Georgian officials or blocking some of the financial aid provided to Tbilisi, Borrell explained.

"The important message is that there will be no progress for Georgia on its path towards the European Union if this government does not change its attitude, if this government does not withdraw its law on foreign interference," Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsakhkna said.

"The situation for Georgia is serious," he stressed.

Georgia was granted EU candidate status in December 2023, but accession talks have not yet started. | BGNES