Two-day International Conference in Tbilisi

10 Jul, 2024

  EU Enlargement – A Geopolitical Necessity and the Next Steps for the EU Candidate States


On July 9-10, Tbilisi hosted the international conference “EU Enlargement – A Geopolitical Necessity and the Next Steps for the EU Candidate States”.


Among the participants of the conference were representatives of the civil society sector from the Associated Trio of the EU and the Western Balkan countries, as well as, members of the German Bundestag: Mr. Robin Wagener (Coordinator of the Federal Government of Germany for Intersocietal Cooperation with the Southern Caucasus, the Republic of Moldova and Central Asia, The Greens), Mr. Thomas Hacker (member of the German Bundestag, member of the Committee on European Union Affairs, spokesperson of the Free Democrats faction on European politics (FDP), Mr. Knut Abraham (member of the German Bundestag, member of the Foreign Committee, Christian Democratic Union, CDU/CSU faction).


On July 9, the Ambassador of the EU to Georgia H.E. Mr. Pawel Herczynski opened the event. On July 10, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Georgia H.E. Peter Fischer delivered a welcome speech to the attending audience.


After Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia joined the list of candidate countries for EU membership in December 2023, the need to deepen ties between the Eastern Partnership Trio and the Western Balkan countries has become more urgent. These countries are at different stages of joining the European Union but share common goals, values, ​​and a European agenda. Sharing their experience and knowledge on the rocky road of reforms to EU accession is especially valuable.


The first day of the conference was devoted to discussion and experience sharing on topics and challenges of common interest to the candidate countries, such as justice reform, the fight against corruption, free media, and the role of civil society in the European integration process.


On the second day of the conference, as part of a public event, German and Georgian politicians discussed the further steps of the candidate countries on the path to joining the European Union. Representatives of research organizations, experts, and civil society organizations from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership candidate countries discussed this topic from a civil society perspective.


The purpose of the conference held in Tbilisi is to lay the foundation for a platform that will unite representatives of civil societies, expert and academic circles of the candidate countries of the Eastern Partnership and the Western Balkans, will give impetus to intensify dialogue on issues related to the European integration process, will promote the effective use of existing opportunities on the path to accession to the European Union and the implementation of best practices in terms of reforms.


Given Germany’s role and contribution to the European integration process of the Western Balkan countries and the three Eastern European candidate countries, it is important that German politicians, members of the Bundestag, and representatives of German political foundations and organizations with many years of successful experience in promoting democratic transformations in different countries, participated in the conference.


The conference was organized in cooperation with the Civil Society Foundation (CSF), the Berlin-based “Zentrum Liberale Moderne” (LibMod), based in Georgia offices of German Political Foundations – the Kondar Adenauer Foundation (KAS), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBS) and supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Berlin office of the Mercator Foundation.