The EU-Georgia Association Council will be held in Brussels today. This year’s meeting will be chaired by Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
The council will continue to strengthen relations enjoyed between the EU and Georgia, which includes visa-free travel and over $99 million in trade. This relationship is a significant achievement of the EU’s European Neighborhood Policy. Still, the EU has proved reticent to support Georgia’s candidacy for full EU membership.
Georgia plays a significant role in EU-Russia relations, particularly in the context of the recent invasion of Ukraine. The eastward expansion of NATO, including a 2008 statement regarding Georgian membership, is a key motivator for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive foreign policy. In 2008, the Russian government supported the breakaway republic of South Ossetia which led to protracted armed conflict in Georgia.
Expect the EU to continue to highlight strong relations between the bloc and Georgia, while also tacitly encouraging Georgia to strengthen sanctions enforcement vis-à-vis Russia. No progress on EU membership candidacy for Georgia is likely. Given Russia’s military obligations in Ukraine, no armed action is likely against Georgia if it increases sanctions enforcement.
Grant is an Analyst with Foreign Brief and he is an EA-18G Growler pilot in the US Naval Reserve. He holds a master's degree with distinction from the University of London SOAS and focuses on security issues in the Asia Pacific.