November 11, 2013
In Georgia, the victory of the electoral coalition ‘Georgian Dream ─ Democratic Georgia‘ (Georgian Dream Coalition) led by the popular billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili in the parliamentary election in October 2012 brought about the first democratic change of government in the history of the country. With the election of Giorgi Margvelashvili as fourth president since independence, the era of Mikheil Saakashvili and his party United National Movement seems finally over. The Georgian people will not easily forget the authoritarian character of his government: during the last months many court cases have been launched against several of his top allies on charges of abuse of power. With great interest, Georgians are currently looking forward to the forthcoming Summit of the Eastern Partnership on 28-29th of November in Vilnius, where the EU Association Agreement between the European Union and Georgia is expected to be initiated. In contrast to its South Caucasian neighbour countries Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia explicitly orientates itself towards Europe and by doing so also seeks the protection of the West against its northern neighbour Russia. The unresolved ethno-political conflicts of the past 20 years define Georgian-Russian relations and, at the same time, also dominate Georgia’s relation with the secessionist regions Abkhazia and South-Ossetia. What are the biggest challenges for the Georgian government on its road to Europe and how can the reform approaches be consolidated? What are Georgia’s perspectives after the Vilnius summit? And, what role can the European Union play in the South Caucasus?
Date Wednesday, 4 December 2013, 17.30 – 19.00
- Ivlian Haindrava, director of the South Caucasus Studies Programme, Centre for Development and Cooperation-Centre for Pluralism in Tbilisi
- Manana Kochladze, chairwoman Association ‘Green Alternative’, Regional Coordinator for the Caucasus, CEE Bankwatch Network
- Amanda Paul, Policy Analyst and Programme Executive, European Policy Centre
Moderator: Bastian Hermisson, Director Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union