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Implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement: Good Governance and Fundamental Freedoms


With the aim to understand if and how Georgia is progressing in the implementation of the Association Agreement (AA), this paper explores the state of Georgia’s development of good governance, the rule of law, justice and the independence of the judiciary, protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of mass media, as well as progress within the economic sector. The study shows that the country faces systemic challenges with the implementation of the political part of the AA, whereas the implementation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) can claim some success. The established form of governance has given birth to a functional but substantially hybrid state characterised by a top-down form of governance, personalisation of domestic politics and centralisation of power. What we have from the European Union’s side towards the state-building process in Georgia is the accommodation of local cultures of governance, as the EU’s rhetoric about Georgia being a frontrunner of the Eastern Partnership and a success story when it comes to the development of democracy is in sharp contrast with the actual reality. Bearing these conclusions in mind, the paper produces recommendations for the EU on how to frame its future policies towards Georgia in order to improve the implementation process.