Parliamentary Resolution on Foreign Policy of Georgia and Georgia’s European Union Integration
Malkhaz Nakashidze, December 30, 2020
On December 25, 2020, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a resolution on Foreign Policy of Georgia. For the first time in the parliamentary history of Georgia, due to the boycott of the opposition, only the ruling party approved a document that defines the main directions of the country’s foreign policy for the next 4 years. A similar document was adopted by the previous parliaments, but according to tradition, similar resolutions were previously adopted in the Georgian parliament with broad political support. Such a document was approved by the IX term Parliament on December 29, 2016, and the VIII term Parliament adopted a resolution on March 7, 2013. In fact, in 2020 it was the first initiative to be registered in the X term parliament. The quick adoption of the resolution, according to the parliamentary majority, is based the fact that the country continues to move towards full integration into the European Union, which directly responds to the Constitution of Georgia and the program statement of the “Georgian Dream”.
The resolution consists of an introduction and 16 paragraphs. The introduction states that the Parliament of Georgia is guided by the national interests of Georgia, based on the Constitution of Georgia, international treaties, legislative and subordinate normative acts, guided by the unshakable will of the citizens of Georgia on the foreign policy course, the historic choice reflected in Article 78 of the Constitution of Georgia Considering that the main approaches reflected in the Unanimous Resolutions adopted by the Parliament of Georgia on the Main Directions of Georgia’s Foreign Policy on March 7, 2013 and on the Foreign Policy of Georgia on December 29, 2016, confirm that de-occupation and restoration of territorial integrity are the main goals of the country. The Parliament welcomes the recognition and establishment of the principles of peace and co-operation in international relations, and is committed to the international order and the universally recognized norm of the international community, recognizes the principle of equality of states in international relations and opposes the division of the world into spheres of influence, recognizes democracy, the rule of law and human rights as fundamental values of international relations, states the Georgia’s foreign policy.
It should be noted that the document adopted by the Parliament on December 25 is based on the resolutions adopted in 2013 and 2016, and among the priority directions is Georgia’s main foreign policy goal of de-occupation of the country through peaceful means and with the support of the international community, restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity, dignified return of refugees and internally displaced persons is announced.
In the second paragraph of the resolution, Georgia’s accession to the European Union is considered an unalternative priority of its foreign policy. The Parliament states that the Government of the country will continue to implement the Association Agreement between the EU and Georgia in a timely and effective manner and to bring Georgia into consistent legislative and institutional rapprochement with the EU, so that in 2024 Georgia can apply for full EU membership.
To achieve this goals, the Parliament sets out the main tasks to be performed. In particular, an important task for the government will be:
- Accelerate economic integration with the EU internal market and create a common economic space with the EU, which is the basis for full integration into the EU, in accordance with the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU.
- Enforce visa-free travel with the EU and promote people-to-people contacts;
- Strengthen ties with the EU and its member states in the fields of education, science, culture and sport;
- Active use of the Eastern Partnership initiative, as well as the establishment of other new formats with the EU;
According to the resolution, another non-alternative foreign policy priority is to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Parliament says that transatlantic unity is a key condition for strengthening world security, and that the government will continue political dialogue with Alliance members, use all practical tools and institutional mechanisms for NATO integration, strengthen the country’s defense capabilities, and improve In accordance with the decision of the Bucharest Summit.
The resolution pays special attention to Georgia’s relations with the United States. It is noted that the goal of the Georgian government is to deepen relations with the United States of America, as the country’s main strategic partner and ally, in accordance with the Charter of Strategic Partnership between the United States and Georgia. In this regard, the country’s special priority is to strengthen US-Georgian cooperation to increase US involvement in the Black Sea geostrategic area, strengthen defense and security cooperation, education and public relations, reach a free trade agreement with the US, and increase US investment in Georgia. After the United States, relations with other countries have been declared a priority in the resolution. In the resolution, Parliament states that Georgia, as a European democracy, strengthens mutually beneficial political, security and sectoral partnerships with friendly European countries and strategic partners – the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Baltic States and the Visegrad Group.
Georgia’s policy in the Black Sea region is an important priority in the resolution. In this regard, the Parliament states that by pursuing an effective and balanced regional policy, Georgia seeks to ensure peace, security and stability in the Black Sea region, and to deepen socio-economic and cultural ties. The priority for Georgia is to strengthen the strategic partnership with the Republic of Azerbaijan and Turkey and the good neighborly and friendly relations with the Republic of Armenia, as well as to realize the maximum strategic potential in the relations with Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine.
The resolution focuses on relations with Russia and states that Georgia will continue its pragmatic and principled policy with the Russian Federation, based on state interests and fundamental norms of international law. The aim of this policy is to end the occupation, fully restore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, as well as to strengthen peace, security and stability in the region. Using and engaging with international mechanisms, Georgia continues to work intensively to address and avoid conventional and hybrid threats from Russia. The Parliament prioritizes the continuation of active work on interstate disputes against the Russian Federation for the ultimate success, including in the effective enforcement of the decisions already taken by the Russian Federation.
The Parliament of Georgia also declares as a foreign policy priority:
- Cooperation in multilateral formats, in particular in the format of the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe, the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, GUAM and other international organizations;
- Development of the role and function of the regional hub connecting the country as West and East, through education, digital, logistics and trade-economic directions;
- Promoting international security and stability through participation in peacekeeping operations;
- In close collaboration with international partners and organizations, continue to implement sustainable development plans and address global challenges, including climate change and pandemics;
- Facilitate the development of interpersonal relations, cultural and educational exchanges and ties to strengthen international and regional peace and cooperation;
- Protecting the rights and legitimate interests of Georgian citizens living abroad, maintaining and strengthening their ties with the homeland;
- Active participation of citizens and civil society in the implementation of foreign policy tasks.
The Parliament of Georgia declares that it will take an active part in shaping and conducting the foreign policy of the country by developing the fundamental directions and principles of the policy, performing legislative and oversight functions, and further intensifying parliamentary diplomacy.
If we compare the text of the resolution adopted in 2020 with the documents adopted in previous years, it can be said that there is no special changes in the last document. The new resolution basically repeats the text and reflects the priorities set in previous years. However I think there are notable moments from previous resolutions that were not reflected in the new resolution. For example, the 2013 resolution mentioned the development of relations with the European Union in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership in four main areas, one of which was democracy and human rights, and in its relations with the United States mentioned that Georgia was cooperating on a strategic partnership. Under the terms of the Charter, the strengthening of democracy was named in four main areas, and one of the most important among them. Also in 2013, the resolution stated as a separate point of priorities that Georgia would actively cooperate with the Baltic states, as the experience and support of this country in European and Euro-Atlantic integration was important for Georgia.
In addition, some important provisions of the resolution adopted in 2016 should not be mentioned, which are not included in the 2020 resolution. For example, the introduction to the 2016 resolution emphasized that the parliament is guided by the will of the Georgian people and the foreign policy course, which was once again strongly supported by the Georgian people in the 2016 parliamentary elections. It seems that the Georgian Dream has avoided mentioning the 2020 elections in a new resolution, but the democratic elections and the will of the people are important when the country intends to apply for EU membership. In addition, paragraph 2 of the 2016 resolution was very important, stating that Georgia will ensure the strengthening of democratic institutions for foreign policy purposes. The efforts of the country’s government will be aimed at strengthening Georgia’s international position as a stable, secure country and leader in the region in terms of democratic reforms. 
The 2020 resolution does not even mention democracy, human rights, the role of a leader of Georgia in the region in terms of stable, secure, democratic reforms, the Baltic states’ experience and support in the European integration process in the document’s priorities. Only in the introduction to the resolution is mentioned that the Parliament recognizes democracy, the rule of law and human rights as fundamental values of international relations. While the Georgian Dream says it will apply for EU membership in 2024, the resolution should also focus on strengthening democracy, the rule of law and human rights, which is Georgia’s obligation under the Association Agreement, and fulfilling that commitment will affect the country’s integration process. As we know, Georgia has many significant challenges in these areas and it was noted in the report on the implementation of the 2020 Association Process by the European Union.
In conclusion it should be said that the adoption of a resolution by the one party majority, while as a rule, the adoption of a document of such importance always results from a multi-party agreement, means that it is not the result of a broad political consensus. Although the Georgian Dream has adopted the resolution in a one-party format and intends to apply for EU membership, the country’s success in European integration depends largely on the state of democracy and the rule of law within the country. Therefore, in the presence of questions about the legitimacy of the elections, the boycott of the opposition and the formation of a one-party parliament, the implementation of the goals set by the resolution adopted by the parliament requires serious efforts by the government.
Jean Monnet Chair, Associate Professor
Faculty of Law and Social Sciences,
Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University
 The Baltic States are mentioned in the resolution only in general, in the context of cooperation with other countries.