Political Will is Crucial

Georgia has shown success in reforming its administration and economy – and aspires to join the EU

01/03/2012 - 04/03/2012 | 09:00 - 17:00 | Tbilisi | Invitation only

Category: Georgia

Much has happened since the 2003 Rose Revolution: Georgia has implemented administrative reforms, stimulated its economy, and taken up the fight against corruption. The Georgian government’s stated goal is integration with the EU, and negotiations on an association agreement are underway. But there are still unresolved issues such as the conflicts in the provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Georgia has accomplished a lot, explained David Bakradze, Chairman of the Georgian Parliament, to the participants of the Carl Friedrich Goerdeler-Kolleg for Good Governance at a mid-term conference in Georgia from March 1 to 4, 2012. Ten years ago, Georgia was still cited as an example of a failed state; since then it has experienced double-digit economic growth and has led a successful fight against corruption. The political will to reform and to strengthen Georgia’s ties to the West after the 2003 Rose Revolution has been crucial for these achievements. The participants received insights into administrative reforms and anti-corruption measures during their visit to the Interior Ministry and the Citizens’ Service building in Rustavi near Tbilisi. The discussions also touched on e-governance and transparency.

The Path to the EU

The Georgian government is aiming for EU membership in the long run, emphasized Deputy Foreign Minister Tornike Gordadze in a discussion with Kolleg director and former Vice-President of the European Commission Günter Verheugen and the chairwoman of the Georgian platform of the Civil Society Forum, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili. According to Tsikhelashvili, 79 percent of Georgians want the country to become a member of the European Union. Verheugen added that the EU must not become an exclusive club. It is the right decision to begin gradually bringing Georgia closer to EU membership. The Association Agreement, which is being negotiated now, is a step in that direction.

The discussion on March 2 dealt with the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Panellists George Khutsishvili (International Center on Conflict and Negotiation), Tamar Kochoradze (Georgian State Ministry for Reintegration), and Lawrence Sheets (International Crisis Group) agreed that confidence-building measures and people-to-people contacts are decisive for conflict resolution. For the time being, however, the Caucasus will remain a troubled region due to the fact that the political will for conflict resolution seems to be lacking.

The Carl Friedrich Goerdeler-Kolleg for Good Governance is a project of the Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). It is an international intensive professional-development program for young executives employed in the public sector (public administration, public companies, non-profit organizations, etc.) from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Further information: www.goerdeler-kolleg.de.

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