Addressing Polarization in the Eastern European Neighbourhood - Session Report
Secretariat of the Knowledge Platform Security & Rule of Law
- On 19 June 2023, experts on Georgia met to discuss opportunities to support rule of law and democracy in Georgia, by focusing on polarization through the lens of the social contract.
- The Georgian social contract is marked by a polarized elite that misrepresent a certain willingness among society to collaborate for reforms. However, there are hardliners and economic beneficiaries that support this status quo.
- The conservative and ‘pro-Russian’ side is strengthening its grip.
- This polarized elite is partially a heritage from zero-sum game politics under Soviet rule and while fighting for independence.
- EU candidacy is not a magic bullet. Reform starts with Georgians.
- However, there is a big need to reclaim public and political debate, where EU and democracy must be prioritized as a topic to trigger reforms and better participation of Georgian society in the internal debates about the kind of country they would like to see in the future.
- EU and its partners are encouraged to apply pressure for reforms and support current challenges for political mobilization.