Georgia in European Discourses: An Austrian Perspective
For the past several years, Georgia has been a ‘model student’ of EU integration. The country’s firm pro-European stance contributed to the signing of the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU in 2014. However, Georgia’s European aspirations are not always adequately reflected within the EU. This has created a gap between EU member states’ perceptions about Georgia’s EU integration and the domestic discourse in Georgia. In an effort to bridge this gap, this policy memo identifies the preferences and perceptions in Austria that determine its position towards Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. It raises the question whether Austria should be seen as an advocate or a sceptic of Georgia’s EU membership aspirations. The first section uses a historical-institutionalist lens to explore Austria’s position towards European security architecture in general. The second section discusses Austria’s position within the EU with regards to the EaP as well as bilateral relations between Austria and Georgia. The third section offers a glimpse of Austria’s domestic politics after the parliamentary elections (2017) and evaluates their impact on the country’s foreign policy towards the neighbourhood.