A Litmus Test for EU Conditionality?
Author: Ana Andguladze, Université libre de Bruxelles
In June 2022, the European Council announced a historic decision: to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova. Meanwhile, Georgia, once a ‘poster child’ of the Eastern Partnership initiative, was only recognised as having a European perspective, and was provided with a list of conditionality-based requirements to become a candidate in future. Considering the recent democratic backsliding in Georgia and its government’s strained relations with Brussels, the main question is whether the incentive of candidate status will be significant enough to ensure the country proceeds with the reform agenda. This policy paper contextualises Georgia’s European Union (EU) membership application and the EU’s decision, and discusses the main challenges facing Georgia in its path to join the EU. The paper finishes with lessons and policy recommendations for the EU on how to improve the effectiveness of the conditionality approach in Georgia and beyond.