Georgia as a Case Study of EU Influence, and How Russia Accelerated EU-Russian relations
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That the Russia Federation poses a security threat to the European Union has gained greater credibility after the 2008 War in Georgia and the Ukrainian Crisis since 2014. This chapter argues that Russia plays an accelerating role in reinforcing EU-Georgia relations. The EU has successfully answered Georgia’s aspiration towards the EU via the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), the Eastern Partnership (EaP), the Association Agreement including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, and the visa-free Schengen Area regime. Russia has in turn been putting pressure on Georgia by means of a belligerent rhetoric, adding new fences for demarcation at the administrative boundary lines of the breakaway regions, that is, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and militarisation in these two regions. Thus, the EU maintains its gravitational pull on Georgia, whereas Russia undoubtedly pushes Georgia towards the Euro-Atlantic realm. The EU welcomes this development, although it is not pleased with Russia’s moves due to security concerns. Georgia is delighted with the ENP and the EaP, yet it does not necessarily mean that Georgia is fully satisfied with the signals from the EU as it aims at becoming a member of the EU, which cannot come to fruition in the near future. Although Georgia will not gain EU membership in the short term, this chapter analyses how Georgia can be regarded as a successful case of the EU using its foreign policy to deepen ties and how Russia’s actions push the EU and Georgia closer to each other.
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