08/01/2018 magda

Europeanization beyond Process: Bringing Georgia Closer to Europe

Project Duration: 01.2018 || 12.2020

Status: Ongoing

Donor: Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE)

Partners: Institute for European Politics (IEP), Berlin, Germany

Budget: 61,784 USD

Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) is starting a two-year program supported by Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE), called “Europeanization beyond Process”.

After signing the Association Agreement Georgia has reiterated its commitment to follow the European way, pushing forward with the reforms necessary for closer integration with the EU and expanding functional integration. However, while Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration continues at political level, on the societal level we can witness an increasingly visible fatigue with certain European values, such as open society and democracy, reinforced with the effects of Russia’s propaganda. One of the major weaknesses of the current Europeanization process is the gap between Georgian society and the rest of the EU, which exists because of lacking common experiences, participation in common public debates. Georgia is part of Europe in rhetorhics, but in reality there is quite limited knowledge and understanding about the actual EU realities and perceptions towards Georgia, and implications of international events/developments to Georgia. EU is perceived as a foreign policy goal and addressed from the perspective of seeking membership – when Georgian society could start integration into the EU public space without formal membership in the political organization, by expanding participation in common discussions.

One of the biggest challenges to engage deeper with the European counterparts, from our recent years’ experience, is recurring perception of Georgia as a case study, rather than a partner that could actually contribute to strengthening Europeanization. For Georgian think tanks, and GIP, it means a challenge, but also an opportunity to expand our networks, strengthen internal capacities and build trust in European capitals that are strategically important for Georgia’s integration to Europe.

The general aim of this project is to promote Georgia as a subject, rather than an object, in Europeanization discussions, by:

  • Expanding GIP’s contacts with relevant partners in the EU;
  • Improving research capacity, to be in line with European standards;
  • Developing advocacy and international visibility skills.
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