How Does Georgia Meet its European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan Commitments?!

26 Mar, 2010

On March 26, Tbilisi Marriott Hotel hosted the presentation of a shadow report “European Neighborhood Policy: Implementation of the Objectives of the EU-Georgia Action Plan” The document reflects  the efforts taken by the Georgian Government in achieving  the obligations  and goals set forth in the European Neighborhood Policy  Action Plan (ENP AP).

Since, October 2009 the  OSGF experts Tamar Pataraia, Revaz Sakevarishvili and Nino Danelia have been monitoring the fulfillment of three priority directions of the ENP AP since the other fields like rule of law and good governance, sustainable development, environment protection and food safety were monitored by partner donor organizations.

In November 2009 the short version of the report was introduced to representatives of the EU, European Parliament and different non-governmental organizations. The full version of the report presented to Georgian audience covers findings discovered in the fields of media, economic, and security. 

Specifially, the Foundation focused on:

  • Promoting the Institutional Environment for the Operation of Independent Media within the Scope of the European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan
  • Implementation of Georgia’s Economic Obligations in the Framework of European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan: Legislation and Practices
  • Promotion of Democratic Institutions, Principles of Good Governance and Democratic Control in Security Sector as Defined by ENP Action Plan for Georgia.

The EU-Georgia ENP AP was launched in November 2006.  Strategic goals of cooperation between the EU and Georgia were defined in the document.  Some representatives of the Georgian civil sector regularly keep track of the implementation of the ENP AP.

In 2009, along with the 5-year ENP, the Eastern Partnership plan was also launched.  The Eastern Partnership plan aims to improve the EU relations with the six Post-Soviet states (Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan).  It seeks to promote democracy and good governance, economic integration, sustainable development and encourage people to people contacts.  Both programs aim to speed up the progress of the states towards moving closer to EU accession goals and make democratic and liberal processes irreversible in the region.

“Even though currently the attention is focused on the Eastern Partnership program, partly because it is more recent, it cannot be detached and considered separately from the ENP.  Our country has experienced both ups and downs regarding the latter, therefore any progress or regress the country may see under the Eastern Partnership program will remind us of the lessons we have learned from the ENP.  This is why it was important to the OSGF in 2009 to draw attention of national and international civil society, the national and European governments to its implementation”- says Keti Khutsishvili, Executive Director of the Open Society Georgia Foundation.

In the aftermath of the recent developments the public attention has been focused on the media, but this question is impossible to consider out of context of economics and the democratization of public management.  The articles written on the media, economics and security sector deal with different issues but as a whole the respective chapters of the report provide good illustration of what has been done by the Government in the introduction of European experiences as well as in terms of meeting public expectations.

“It should be mentioned that the situation in the media sector has worsened. The most problematic issue is the transparency of media ownership, the media market is not protected from state interference, especially when it comes to the distribution of commercials among TV companies and editorial independence of the media remains impossible”, mentioned Nino Danelia.

Revaz Sakevarishvili introduced the findings of the economic development. “The pace of introduction of the European standards has been slow.  At the same time, the Asian liberal economic models are also acceptable for the government, which raises ambiguity regarding development trends, antimonopoly legislation and institutions still remain a problematic issue”-he says.

Tamar Pataraia has monitored the democratization of the security system. According to her “control tools of Parliament are weak and unstable and protection of rights of soldiers serving in Georgian army has not deserved enough attention so far”.