Reports 2016

Georgia: recognising achievements, consolidating reforms, and addressing future challenges and aspirations

27 September 2016

European and Euro-Atlantic integration is at the heart of Georgian foreign and domestic policy. Eventual membership of NATO and the EU is viewed as crucial for the country’s security and prosperity.  To this end Georgia has come a significant way since the early days of independence, deepening ties with the both the EU and NATO, carrying out important political and economic reforms and taking key steps to fight corruption and strengthen the rule of law. 

On 1 July 2016 Georgia’s EU Association Agreement came into force. The Agreement with its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), foresees far-reaching political and economic integration with the EU by significantly deepening political and economic ties. Georgia also expects to receive visa liberalisation with the EU within the next two months. There is however no room for complacency. The region remains caught in uncertainty and political turmoil, and Georgia still faces considerable political, economic and social challenges. Parliamentary elections slated for 8 October will be an important litmus test for the current ruling Georgia Dream’s economic and foreign policy. This Policy Dialogue – organised by the European Policy Centre and LINKS (Dialogue, Analysis and Research) under the patronage of the Group of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament – took stock of Georgia’s relations with the European and Euro-Atlantic Community and looked at what are likely to be the biggest domestic and international challenges in the near future.

Speakers included: Andrejs Mamikins, Member of the European Parliament for the S&D Group and Rapporteur on Georgia, David Bakradze, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Georgia, Amanda Paul, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre, Thomas van Handel, Team Leader for Republic of Moldova and Georgia, Eastern Partnership – Bilateral at the European External Action Service, Heidi Hautala, Chair of EURONEST, European Parliament, HE Natalie Sabanadze, Head of the Mission of Georgia to the EU, Steffen Elgersma, Desk Officer for the South Caucasus, NATO, James Nixey, Head of Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, Nathalia Jaliashvili, Advisor on Human Rights at the Office of the Prime Minister of Georgia, George Mchedishvili, Associate Professor at Black Sea University, Tamar Gvaramadze, Executive Director of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association