Pro-EU demonstrators are sprayed with a water cannon by police near the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi on March 7
Brussels (AFP) - Georgia’s president was set to meet EU chief Charles Michel in Brussels Monday after the South Caucasus nation dropped a controversial “foreign agent” bill in the face of major pro-Western protests.
The Georgian government last week scrapped the legislation, that critics said was reminiscent of rules in Russia, after tens of thousands of angry demonstrators took to streets.
The European Union had slammed the proposed law and said that it ran counter to Georgia’s push to join the 27-nation bloc.
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has been outspoken in her support for closer ties with the West and in her criticism of the ruling party in Tbilisi, but her powers are limited.
She hailed the role of protesters who forced the government to withdraw the legislation that would have labelled NGOs and media outlets that got funding from abroad “foreign agents”.
Zurabishvili on Monday also met with France’s foreign minister in Paris and held talks over the weekend with top US officials in Washington.
European Council president Michel has previously sought to negotiate between Georgia’s feuding political factions.
Georgia, which fought a brief war against neighbouring Russia in 2008, formally applied last year alongside Ukraine and Moldova to join the EU.
While the other two applicants were granted candidate status, Georgia was told it needed to carry out further reforms to get on the long path to membership.