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Georgia in European Discourses: An Austrian Perspective

Johann Wolfschwenger

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. (more…)

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Georgia’s European perspectives within the context of current debates on the EU’s future: A Franco-German view

Dr. Barbara Kunz

As of 2018, the EU’s internal debate has largely emerged from the gloomy state that had overshadowed it recent years: Brussels is again looking forward rather than focusing on crisis management. After the depression caused by the Eurozone crisis, the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States, much of the current debate focuses on taking European integration further in a number of fields: migration and border protection, as well as Eurozone reform and defense. The same applies to Franco-German relations. Paris and Berlin, the traditional (though not always functioning) “motor” of European integration, have formulated ambitious cooperation objectives, both in terms of bilateral relations and within the broader European context. (more…)

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place? Georgia’s Regional Balancing Act

Dr. Tracey German

As a small state in an unstable neighbourhood, Georgia faces significant external challenges to its ongoing democratisation and Europeanisation projects. The environment in its immediate neighbourhood has become increasingly unfavourable with a rise in illiberalism across the wider Caucasus, reflecting broader global trends. In recent months both the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have won their fourth terms of office, whilst in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to consolidate his already strong grip on power. Armenia has provided a small ray of democratic hope after Serzh Sargsyan was forced to resign as the newly installed prime minister in Armenia (after two consecutive terms as president), following the #RejectSerzh movement and widespread popular protests.

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Life Without EU Membership: The Case for a Multi-Speed EaP

Bidzina Lebanidze

The recent Eastern Partnership (EaP) summit in Brussels highlighted once again the gap between the expectations of the Eastern partners and the European Union. The advanced Eastern partner countries aspire for nothing less than full EU membership – something which the European Council is not ready to offer. Yet, the exclusive focus on the rather distant membership perspective has overshadowed more acute problems: for many, the EaP format itself is considered inherently ineffective undermining of the EU’s soft power in Eastern partner countries. (more…)

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Italy and Eastern Europe: A Dossier Subordinated to the Rome-Moscow Axis?

Nona Mikhelidze

Over the years, Italy’s foreign policy towards post-Soviet countries has developed in the framework of bilateral relations and in the context of the Eastern Partnership (EaP). Italy welcomed the launch of the EaP in 2009, and since then has supported almost all EU initiatives under the project, including visa liberalization for Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Moreover, official Rome favored launching the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia following the Georgian-Russian war of 2008.

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Italy’s Eastern Neighborhood Policy: Georgia in Context

Marco Siddi

Italy’s economic and diplomatic presence in the European Union’s Eastern neighborhood has increased since the 2000s. The expansion of trade and diplomatic contacts with Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries has complemented Italy’s long-standing relationship with Moscow, which continues to be important despite the current political crisis and economic sanctions imposed between Russia and the EU. (more…)

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German Elections 2017: Continuity at the Top, a Looming Disaster from Below

Silvia Stöber

“Boring” is a word often used to describe the ongoing election campaign in Germany. The campaign will conclude on September 24 when the citizens elect new members to the Bundestag. A new government will be formed according to the results.          

At first glance, not much exciting has happened in recent weeks. The two main contestants – the Christian Democrat Angela Merkel and the Social Democrat Martin Schulz – fought a duel on live television (more…)

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Deterring Russia’s Borderization of Georgia

Joseph Larsen

 In the 21st century we have seen a tendency toward blurring the lines between the states of war and peace.
Wars are no longer declared and, having begun, proceed according to an unfamiliar template
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– General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Federation

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What Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine Want From the Brussels Summit

Mariam Grigalashvili
Originally published in DELF The Lithuania Tribune

The European Union will hold the fifth Summit of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in Brussels on November 24. There, the leaders of EU member states will meet with counterparts from Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia and Belarus.

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Anti-migrant Rhetoric in Georgia: Do Far-right Groups Threaten Georgia’s Pro-European Discourse?

Irakli Jgharkava*

Last month’s anti-migrant march in Tbilisi, baptized as the “national liberation movement”, marked an uptick in visible far-right sentiment in Georgia. The rally gathered around 2,000 people demanding the deportation of illegal immigrants and an overall toughening of the country’s immigration laws.  (more…)

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