The Civil Society Perspective – Country Report Georgia
This report offers the perspectives of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum member organisations from Georgia on the future of the Eastern Partnership following its tenth anniversary year. It is one of a series of six country reports, with other editions covering Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
The findings presented here are the result of a comprehensive process of internal consultation, conducted in October 2019 in order to inform the EaP CSF’s response to DG NEAR’s structured consultation on the Eastern Partnership beyond 2020. The report covers the following fields:
Economic and Human Capital Development: According to 26% of Georgian respondents, investments in sectors with a potential for development, growth and competitiveness in the EU market in each country constitute the most urgent and effective measure that the EU should promote to support sustainable economic development in the EaP region.
On human capital development, 35% of respondents consider it crucial for the EU to promote the strengthening of the connection between education systems reform and labour market demands in order to further empower youth and address the economic challenges they are facing.
Good Governance, Rule of Law, Security Cooperation: In order to support good governance and rule of law reforms in the EaP countries, a significant number of respondents in Georgia (44%) suggest that the EU should strengthen civil society’s role in policy formulation, choosing bona fide civil society organisations.
EU-EaP and Intra-EaP Cooperation: Ensuring Inclusiveness and Differentiation: Three measures are preferred by an equal percentage of respondents (21%) regarding intra-EaP cooperation. First, the creation of ad hoc platforms for cooperation for EaP countries based on their shared interest, such platforms should be open to participation of the EaP countries that do not take part from the onset. Second, investment in programmes creating a local layer of EaP-minded EaP citizens, for example, expanding the experience of the European School in Tbilisi, making it more inclusive. Finally, support of primarily intra-regional trade, culture and tourism exchange.
Boosting EU Visibility in the EaP Region: The results of the online survey of Georgian organisations suggest that the most urgent and effective measure that the EU should support to enhance its visibility in the EaP region is to use campaigns to inform citizens about the opportunities stemming from DCFTA implementation to raise awareness about the benefits of EU integration and link them to the impact on the labour market (30%). 26% of respondents consider that prioritising funding for local projects to raise awareness about the EU in small towns and regions would be the most effective measure to increase visibility.
Strengthening the Role of Civil Society: 40% of Georgian respondents choose enhancing the role of CSOs in policy implementation to improve the results and strengthen the local ownership of the reform as the most urgent and effective measure to increase civil society’s involvement in the EaP policy.
The EaP CSF prepared its response to DG NEAR’s structured consultation on the future of the Eastern Partnership by launching a comprehensive process of internal consultation of its membership base. The internal consultation was based on three pillars: six in-country focus groups, four online focus groups and one online questionnaire combining quantitative and qualitative elements. Over 200 civil society organisations participated in at least one pillar of the consultation. The results presented below offer a detailed overview of the input received from Georgia. A total of 38 Georgian civil society organisations participated in the consultation process (1 or more pillars): 27 organisations took part in the online survey, 7 took part in the in-country focus group and 4 in the online focus groups.