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Results of the DCFTA Related Mappings of Georgian SMEs and CSOs

This publication is an integral part of the project “Georgia on the European Way: Creation of Eff ective Model for DCFTA and SME Strategy Implementation” launched in April 2017 and to be implemented by Spring 2019. The Project addresses the lack of awareness about opportunities provided by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement between Georgia and the EU. It seeks to increase the role of Georgian civil society organizations in a nation-wide DCFTA/SME communication campaign and their capacities to assist local small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) in their preparations to access the EU single market.

The project is implemented by an international consortium of non-governmental organizations and think-tanks under the leadership of the Eastern Europe Studies Center (EESC, Lithuania) (more…)

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Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: How Georgia Can Resist Authoritarian Pressure

Joseph Larsen

Georgia is at a crossroads regarding its democratic development and European Union (EU) integration. Despite being a poster child for democratization in the post-Soviet space, its progress in consolidating democratic institutions has stagnated since the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party won a constitutional supermajority in 2016. Untrammeled by parliamentary opposition and operating within a system of weak checks and balances, GD’s parliamentary majority has made a number of moves that cast doubt on its commitment to further democratic consolidation. Making matters worse, Georgia is being pressured by two authoritarian neighbors—Azerbaijan and Turkey—to flout its human rights obligations. (more…)

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GIP Interview w/ Luke Coffey on NATO-Georgia Relations

A case for Georgia’s membership in NATO by Mr. Luke Coffey, Director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy, of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for National security and Foreign Policy, at the Heritage Foundation. Recently, Mr. Coffey authored a report “NATO Membership for Georgia: In US and European Interest”, which sparked great interest among the Georgian audience. Attending a conference in Tbilisi on February 8, organized by Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC), Mr. Coffey was kind enough to answer a few questions about NATO-Georgia relations. Interview by Levan Kakhishvili, GIP Analyst.

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Making Georgia’s democracy work: Western political conditionality and domestic agendas of Georgian political parties

Bidzina Lebanidze

External democracy promotion has not brought any tangible results to most countries in the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), contrary to Western expectations. Georgia has been one of the few exceptions to that trend, however. The Black Sea country has advanced in terms of good and democratic governance over the last ten years and, even though the democratization process in Georgia remains unfinished, the country has experienced a number of democratic breakthroughs and, overall, democratic quality has increased. (more…)

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Assessment of 2017 by Georgian and international experts

The Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) conducted a survey to sum up 2017 as part of the “expert polls” project. The poll collected opinions and assessments about the ongoing political and economic processes in the country and its future prospects from 20 well-informed Georgian and international observers. Both Georgian and international experts expressed similar opinions, which served as a good reflection of the ambivalent results achieved by the Georgian government in terms of democratization, social, economic and foreign policies in 2017.

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Mitigating Russia’s Borderization of Georgia: A Strategy to Contain and Engage

Kornely Kakachia, Levan Kakhishvili,
Joseph Larsen, Mariam Grigalashvili

Russia’s use of military, political, and informational tactics to manipulate unresolved conflicts is a dynamic process. One novel warfare tactic Russia has employed since 2009 is the “borderization” of Georgia’s territory. The tactic of borderization serves Russia’s strategy of undermining Georgia’s sovereignty, including its democratic development and independent domestic and foreign policies. Borderization is a new phenomenon, (more…)

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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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Is Georgia’s “Unique” Approach to Church-State Relations Compatible with EU Integration?

Irakli Jgharkava

This research paper tackles one of the most controversial issues in Georgian society – the relationship between Church and State. Following a recent statement by the prime minister of Georgia that questioned the “classical understanding” and utility of secularism in the Georgian context, a unique Georgian model of secularism has been put forth, resulting in a stir both within and beyond Georgia’s borders. The aim of this paper is to explore whether realization of this “unique” Georgian model of secularism poses any threat to the country’s European integration aspirations.

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Interview with Ambassador – H.E. Kai Kaarelson

Mariam Grigalashvili’s interview with the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to Georgia and Armenia – H.E. Kai Kaarelson

“The EU money and help is there, it just has to be used better for the real transformation.
The better the results, the more help will become available.”

  1. How does Estonian society perceive the future of the EU-associated Eastern Partnership countries (Moldova, Ukraine, Georgia)? Does the public view differ from the official view?

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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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Experts Predict Easy Victory for Ruling Party in Local Elections

GIP Expert Polls / Issue #5

The Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) continues to survey engaged Georgian and international experts on issues of great importance. This October, GIP asked 30 experts and political observers about the imminent local self-government elections. The majority of surveyed pundits predict Georgian Dream winning by a big margin.

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