Hungary urges EU to emulate Georgia's ‘Russian bill’

Hungary would encourage other European Union members to adopt laws similar to Georgia's highly contested "foreign influence" law, a senior official of the Central European country said on May 17.

The bill's adoption has prompted unprecedented protests in Tbilisi and a blizzard of international condemnation, including from the EU.

But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's political director has endorsed the legislation in an post on X.

"Our intention is not to veto #Georgia's Law on the Transparency of Foreign Influence, but to encourage the introduction of similar laws across the EU!" wrote Balazs Orban, who is not related.

"Protecting one's #sovereignty from unwanted foreign interference is not a threat but a precondition for democracy, this is what the law is about, and instead of condemning it, #EU should perhaps also follow the lead" he added.

The controversial Georgian bill requires NGOs and media outlets that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad to register as bodies "pursuing the interests of a foreign power."

Critics say it mirrors repressive Russian legislation used to silence dissent, in a symbol of the ex-Soviet republic's drift closer to Moscow's orbit in recent years.

Hungary, the only EU country to have maintained close ties with the Kremlin following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, is a staunch ally of the Georgian authorities.

Budapest objected to a European Union resolution condemning Georgia for passing the controversial law and urging Tbilisi to reverse course.

The statement was later released and signed by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and the rest of the European Commission.

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