Georgia holds fast to its Euro-Atlantic aspirations amid political and security challenges

05 July 2022


Georgia’s commitment to Euro-Atlantic and European integration remains steadfast with broad popular support and across party lines, a delegation from the Defence and Security Committee heard when visiting Tbilisi from 28-30 June.  

“We are choosing the right side of history; the European side of defence and security in these challenging times, and the values of liberal democracy are our way forward,” said Lela Chikovani, Deputy Minister of Defence of Georgia. Georgia “is a proud contributor to NATO’s efforts to project peace and stability. We are willing to fight shoulder to shoulder with NATO Allies, as we share the same values." 

Russia’s war in Ukraine served as a backdrop to the visit to Georgia, a NATO aspirant and Enhanced Opportunity Partner. As Georgian interlocutors made clear, Russia’s violent campaign to deny Ukraine its Euro-Atlantic aspirations is sending shockwaves across the Caucasus and upending Georgian officials’ perspectives of the region’s future security.  

Since the cease-fire of the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, Russian forces continue to occupy approximately 20 percent of Georgian territory in South Ossetia and Abkhazia – and the borders keep creeping forward. In addition, Russia is engaging in continuous hybrid warfare and seeks to reimpose military, political and economic control over Georgia and the broader Caucasus, the delegation heard.  

Recognising these vulnerabilities, members of the delegation voiced their strong support for Georgia living in a tough neighbourhood in these trying times. Andreas Loverdos (Greece) Vice-Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Future Security and Defence Capabilities (DSCFC) and head of the delegation, told his Georgian interlocutors unequivocally that “just as with Ukraine, we continue to stand by Georgia, its sovereignty, territorial integrity and right to self-defence and self-determination.” He also underlined “NATO Allies and the Assembly forcefully reject Moscow’s efforts to permanently shut the door to Ukraine, Georgia and any other country who wants to walk through NATO’s open door.”   

Georgia is among NATO’s closest partners. Since 2014 it has been the recipient of the Special NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), a cooperative security initiative to help Allies strengthen Georgia’s defence capacity, increase the interoperability of Georgia and NATO forces and prepare defence institutions for eventual NATO membership.  

The SNGP is the biggest partner defence capacity building initiative in the Alliance’s history. During the delegation’s visit to Tbilisi, NATO Allies agreed at the 2022 Madrid Summit to refresh the SNGP via a new “tailored support” package, due to “the changed security environment in Europe”. As NATO officials noted in Tbilisi, a refreshed SNGP is welcomed, as “much remains to be done”. A key variable to achieving the goals of the SNGP, however, is sustained political will coming from Georgian political authorities, members heard.  

The visit also came little than a week after the European Council declared itself “ready to grant the status of candidate country to Georgia”, if and when Georgia has addressed 12 key reform agenda priorities. 

Georgia has witnessed repeated political crises in recent years and faces continued political polarisation. The NATO PA remains committed as ever, however, to supporting Georgia on its democratic path, including on further judicial, electoral and security sector reforms. 

As delegation head Andreas Loverdos stressed to his Georgian parliamentary colleagues: “To continue on its Euro-Atlantic path, Georgia must carry on with its efforts to consolidate and strengthen its democracy.” 

The DSCFC delegation consisted of 15 parliamentarians representing 11 NATO Allies. The three-day visit covered the range of political and military challenges and opportunities facing Georgia as it continues to push its Euro-Atlantic agenda forward. In addition to visiting with the Georgian parliament and government institutions, the delegation also met with a range of NATO and Georgian officials working in the country on the SNGP, including the NATO Liaison Office, the Defence Institution Building School and the NATO-Georgia Joint Training and Evaluation Centre. The delegation also visited the administrative boundary line of the Russian-occupied Georgian territory of South Ossetia (Tskhinvali region).  

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