Between a Rock and a Hard Place?
Georgian, German and French Perspectives on European Values and Euro-Atlantic Integration
Polis180, the Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP, Tbilisi) and Argo (Paris) implemented a joint project on European values and ways of better anchoring them in the Georgian and the EU’s societies. The European Union is being increasingly challenged by populist and Eurosceptic forces, and European values are clearly under threat in several EU member states. In Georgia, the Association Agreement with the EU is being implemented and the country is moving closer towards Europe in many ways. Nevertheless, challenges remain in the face of both external and internal threats, for instance regarding the safeguarding of human rights.
Thus, in the framework of their project #GEOEUvalues, Polis180, GIP and Argo examined: What are the main challenges to European values in Georgia and in the EU? What are European values in the first place? How can we foster European values in the EU and the Eastern Partnership countries? What is the relationship between European values and EU accession?
- We brought together 24 German, Georgian and French young experts for a three-day workshop in Tbilisi (17-19 September 2018) in order to reflect on European values and the foreign and domestic challenges of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration with local experts. The workshop included an open policy lab where developed scenarios for the EU-Georgia relationship in 2030. Click here for the (expired) call for applications. A brief report can be found here.
- We convened for a full-day public conference in Tbilisi on 20 September 2018, involving the young as well as senior experts from Georgia, Germany and France. The conference discussed our scenarios and policy recommendations with the public. A brief report can be found here.
- We published a joint policy paper and blog articles (see below) which reflect the discussions and results of the workshop and conference.
- We presented the outputs to the German and French publics on events in Paris (November 2018) and Berlin (3rd December 2018).
- Sonja Schiffers, Daniel Hegedüs, Salome Minesashvili, Tornike Bakakuri, Lika Tchipashvili, Laura Gelhaus, Victor Le Grix, Frauke Seebass. Normative Power vs. Democratic Backsliding. European Values in the EU and Georgia. Policy paper, 21 Nov 2018.
- Frauke Seebass. The Future of the Eastern Partners: 6 Lessons from the Western Balkans. Blog article, 4th Dec 2018.
- Tornike Bakakuri. Beyond Top-Down Democratization. Protests of Georgian Students, ‘Ravers’ and Workers. Blog article, 21 Dec 2018.
- Lorraine Vaney. Trendy Tbilisi: Where Georgian Fashion Meets Public Diplomacy. Blog article, 10 January 2019.
- Victor Le Grix. A Positive Influence in the South Caucasus? Georgia’s Potential as a Regional Stabilizer. Polis Brief N° 7, 7 February 2019.
- Gabriela Langholf. European Values As a Tool Against Right-Wing Populism. Blog article, forthcoming.
- Simon Schultz. What About the Patriarch? Sexual Minority Rights in Georgia. Blog article, forthcoming.
(more to follow)
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#GEOEUvalues Project teaser
Interview with Georgian writer Zurab Karumidze
Interview with project lead Sonja Schiffers
Our project partners
The Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP) is a Tbilisi-based non-profit, non-partisan, research and analysis organization founded in early 2011. GIP strives to strengthen the organizational backbone of democratic institutions and promote good governance and development through policy research and advocacy in Georgia. It also encourages public participation in civil society-building and developing democratic processes. GIP is working to distinguish itself through relevant, incisive research; extensive public outreach; and a brazen spirit of innovation in policy discourse and political conversation.
Argo (Paris), officially founded in 2017, pools policy ideas and expertise through a crowdsourcing platform, allowing individuals regardless of age or profession to have a hand in shaping the policies that affect their lives. Argo reaches out to those voices across society that are hardest to hear, which aims at reducing the gap between policy and people and gives leverage for Argo to place their policy proposals with decision makers. Argo describes itself as inclusive, fact-based, global, nonpartisan, and optimistic.
Our project staff
Sonja Schiffers (Project Lead, Polis180): Sonja is Co-President of Polis180 and Co-Head of Polis’ Program Area Gender and International Politics. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs and a PhD candidate at Freie Universität Berlin. Sonja’s dissertation deals with Russian and Turkish foreign policy towards Georgia and Bosnia. For work and pleasure, Sonja visits Georgia frequently. She is fascinated by the Georgian Euro-Atlantic endeavor and an avid admirer of Georgian cuisine, culture and nature.
Renata Skardžiūtė-Kereselidze (Project Manager, GIP): Renata is Programs Manager at Georgian Institute of Politics. She has a background in political science (BA from Vilnius University, Institute of International Relations and Political Science) and nationalism studies (MA from Central European University), with a special interest in Europeanisation. Renata has moved to Georgia from Lithuania eight years ago, to explore the Caucasus version of Euro-Atlantic integration. Before joining GIP Renata worked with different NGOs in Lithuania and Georgia in the fields of human rights, youth activism and development cooperation.
Alexandra Jercaianu (Project Manager, Argo): Alexandra is an International Security and International Affairs graduate, currently working in the space sector. In her position she works with various stakeholders across the space value-added chain to exchange know-how and good practices on operational and potential uses of satellite technology in various sectors. She joined Argo in 2017 as part of the think tank’s board and is currently coordinating activities within two Argo projects, #GEOEUvalues and EYE. A passionate communicator, she is also a strong advocate for youth empowerment and aims to bring positive impact through her work and volunteering activities.
Mariam Akhalkatsi (Project Assistant, Georgian Institute of Politics): Mariam is a Communication Coordinator at Georgian Institute of Politics (GIP). She organizes conferences and events, as well as manages the GIP web page and social media and communicates GIP products to the media and public. She earned a Bachelor of Social Science in Journalism and Mass Communication from Tbilisi State University and an MA in Film Studies from Ilia State University.
01 June – 31 December 2018
The project is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office in the framework of the programme “Expanding Cooperation with Civil Society in the Eastern Partnership Countries and Russia”.