“Germany’s Role in Georgia’s European Future: How to align expectations?” – GIP & IEP joint public event in Berlin
The presentation of the paper was followed by a panel discussion with the participation of Dr. Kornely Kakachia (Director of Georgian Institute of Politics), Liana Fix (Körber Foundation) and Dr. Franziska Smolnik (German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). The discussion was moderated by Viktoria Palm (Research Associate at Institut für Europäische Politik). All participants stressed the importance of a sincere and open dialogue on problematic issues between Germany and Georgia. Liana Fix and Dr. Franziska Smolnik argued that many structural weaknesses at the national and EU level as well as new and old global challenges are keeping Germany from devoting enough time to Georgia’s concerns. According to Liana Fox, Germany recently have found itself in a new and more hostile environment marked by the disengagement of the US administration from Europe and the reemergence of the Russian threat in the East. As a result, sometimes small countries like Georgia do not get enough attention from Berlin. However, deepening political dialogue and closer relations between the two societies could contribute to overcoming many of the mutual stereotypes and misperceptions. Dr. Kornely Kakachia stressed that the Georgian public understands the current mood of enlargement fatigue in the EU and does not expect EU membership in the short-term, but Germany and the EU could send stronger signals of political support through its acknowledgement of Georgia’s European perspective. Dr. Kakachia also stressed that Georgia’s deepening relations with Germany had special importance in the context of implementing the Association Agreement with the EU and the substantive package that was at last offered by NATO.