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Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic Aspiration and the Russian Challenge

01/07/2016, Rome

Special guest: TINATIN KHIDASHELI, Defence Minister of Georgia

In 2008, the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) officially embraced Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations at the Bucharest Summit, declaring that one day the country would become a member of the organization. Eight years after this declaration, almost all agree that the question depends less on Georgia’s political domain or military reform, and more on the geopolitical struggle between great powers in the post-Soviet space and especially on the tense NATO-Russia relationship. The Russian annexation of Crimea and ongoing war in Ukraine, the deteriorated EU-Russia relations and US policy in the Middle East and towards Iran have decelerated the Georgian NATO membership process. Bearing this context in mind the meeting aims to discuss whether the NATO should still compete with the Russian influence in the region. Or should it only pursue a limited role in Georgia by supporting a wide-ranging military, democratic and institutional reform process?