Europeanization beyond the EU: The case of Georgia.
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Policy analyses have devoted a certain amount of attention to EU policies towards Georgia, and even more to the Eastern European countries andtheir integration processes with the EU. However, there is a considerablelack of knowledge about the role and actual impact of third non-candidatecountries on their Europeanisation process. This thesis has aimed tocontribute to this gap of Europeanisation scholarship and to promoteunderstanding of Georgian influence on the Europeanisation process.In line with this objective, the thesis is dedicated to the analyses of theEuropeanisation process beyond the formal borders of the EU. Theresearch approaches to non-candidate Eastern European countries in termsof their influence on the European integration process. Scholar approacheson European integration processes of the Eastern European countries gainincreasing importance, especially because of emerging security challengeson Eurasian continent. In this discourse, the thesis provides an innovativeunderstanding of Europeanisation and investigates its additional variables.This thesis contributes to the study of Europeanisation and opens adiscussion on the issue of role and impact of Eastern European countriesin this context. More precisely, the thesis provides and developsarguments regarding the `bottom-up¿ Europeanisation by its newlyacknowledged criteria.Scientific and political discourses of this thesis, elaborated in aninterrelated and multidimensional manner, approaches to constraints andimplications of Europeanisation in terms of `top-down¿ as well as`bottom-up¿ perspectives. This type of research is especially important inthe context of Europeanisation of the ENP countries, where the declaredmembership perspective is missing.The thesis incorporated theoretical framework of Europeanisation, whichis tested on the case study of Georgia. Twofold objective of the thesisincludes assessment of the one-side mechanisms of Europeanisation, aswell as its critics. In addition to it, the thesis provides innovativelydeveloped criteria for the evaluation of the impact of non-candidate EU¿sEastern neighbouring countries on the Europeanisation process. Thecriterion is elaborated in the theoretical as well as empirical parts of thethesis with regard to Georgia.Challenging political and economic integration projects provoked numberof critical questions in terms of political, economic and securityconditions of third states once they are actively involved in the Europeanintegration process. Emerging European integration process of Georgia,which contradicts with Eurasian integration, constitutes an actual issueand a shortcoming in theory as well as in politics. On one hand, the casestudy of Georgia explains, in details, the Europeanisation process Georgia,and on the other, demonstrates similarities and disparities shared by post-Soviet countries in their relations with the EU and the Russian Federation.In sum, the thesis approaches to the case study of Georgia and tests theinnovative understanding of Europeanisation mechanisms and providescomprehensive study of the European integration of Georgia.Discourses of this thesis are especially interesting for Georgian, as well asEuropean experts and policy makers. Regional and local dimensions ofthe thesis might be also in the interests of any scholar and expert,researching the Eastern European countries political, economic andsecurity issues. Moreover, the hypothesis proposed by this thesis gainsgeopolitical importance due to the contradictory nature of the Europeanand Eurasian integration projects. A newly developed approach ofEuropeanisation might influence emergence and generation of new visionsabout the role and actor-ness of Eastern European countries in theirrelations with the EU.2. Objective of the ResearchThis thesis aims at developing the theoretical concept of Europeanisationvis-á-vis third non-candidate and neighbouring countries of the EU, alsoproviding the empirical findings concerning the impact of domesticpolicies of Georgia on the process of Europeanisation.Methodologically, the EU is developing and addressing to those countriesthrough the accession or cooperation instruments, incorporated in thebilateral, multilateral or both types of frameworks. Objective of the thesishas been to include assessment of one-side mechanisms ofEuropeanisation and also Georgian approach towards the EU, as an actorof bilateral relations. Author aims to demonstrate the role and activenessof Georgia in the Europeanisation process and to avoid examination ofthis country as only `beneficial side¿ of EU¿s external governance.The thesis problematises the one-side approach of Europeanisationtowards non-candidate Eastern European countries and defines its limits.Overall objective of thesis is to involve into the debates ofEuropeanisation the role of third states. In this discourse, and morespecifically, this thesis aims at:- developing the theory of Europeanisation towards the noncandidateEastern European countries of the EU;- highlighting the importance of domestic political conditions ofnon-candidate Eastern European countries and inclusion of thisissue in the discussion of Europeanisation;- analysing mechanisms of Europeanisation and their actual impactto non-candidate neighbouring countries of the EU;- defining the criteria of `bottom-up¿ Europeanisation and itscausality;- examining the case of Georgia pursuant to the `bottom-up¿context of Europeanisation;- providing comparative and diachronic analysis of Georgia¿sEuropeanisation process;- developing conceptual understanding of Georgia¿s domesticfactors in terms their linkage with Europeanisation process.Consequently, the thesis should shed a light to the gap of theEuropeanisation concept and involve into this debate the third statesimpact on this process. In addition to it, it may open a discussion aboutdefining additional variables of Europeanisation beyond the one-sidemechanisms of the EU.3. HypothesisThe thesis aims to contribute the study of Europeanisation, in terms offilling the gap of comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms onwhich it is based and the conditions under which this process functions.Respectively, we hypothesise that:- Beyond the already established theoretical framework ofEuropeanisation, which incorporates limited examination of theone-side mechanisms of the EU expansion, the Europeanisationprocess of the non-candidate Eastern European states isinfluenced by the domestic variables of the country concerned;- The Europeanisation process of Georgia commenced shortly afterits independence and conclusion of the PCA with the EU, as far asrelationship emerged through the value based framework ofcooperation, in contrast with the influential power of the RussianFederation;- The peaceful revolution in Georgia together with the postrevolutionaryreform-oriented political climate in Georgiacatalysed the Europeanisation process but provoked the securitychallenges in the region;- An upgraded bilateral relationship between the EU and Georgia,notwithstanding the increasingly tense geopolitical context,consistently follows the Europeanisation perspective of thecountry.4. MethodologyThis thesis constitutes a synthesis of theoretical and empirical findings,therefore it incorporates literature of Europeanisation, as well as empiricalanalyses. Valuable works and substantive understanding ofEuropeanisation is provided by the scholarship (Magen, 2006; Buller andGamble, 2002; Bache, 2003; Schimmelfennig, 2010; Börzel and Risse,2009; Radaelli, 2004; Lavenex, 2004; 2008; Grabbe, 2006).Schimmelfennig conceptualises detailed and influential research onEuropeanisation beyond the formal borders of the EU (Schimmelfennig,2009; 2010). The author develops the concept of Europeanisation withregard to the European Neighbourhood Policy countries, where thedeclared perspective of membership is missing (Schimmelfennig, 2010).Beyond the ontological understanding of Europeanisation, this thesisanalyses direct mechanisms of Europeanisation in order to define thelimits of existing theoretical framework.The thesis also involves into the debate increasingly important researchprovided by Börzel and Risse in terms of understanding the `misfit¿between the policies of the Union and the domestic policies, where thedomestic policies, institutions and political processes appear as anecessary, however not sufficient condition for the changes on thedomestic level (Börzel and Risse, 2009). This research analyses therationalist and constructivist approaches on Europeanisation and definesthe ratio of the domestic adaptation (Börzel and Risse, 2009).The thesis builds a theoretical framework, which helps to understandbetter the role of the non-candidate neighbouring countries of the EU inthe Europeanisation context. This thesis provides a comprehensiveunderstanding of the `gaps¿ of Europeanisation: on one hand developingthe theoretical framework and on the other, testing the theory pursuant tothe case study of Georgia.The substantial understanding of Europeanisation as a two-way processconstitutes a solid basis for our research, whereas the domestic structuresdo not appear as passive recipients of the EU impact (Featherstone andKazamias, 2001). In other words, Europeanisation is approached as aninteractive process that involves not only the top-down, but also bottomupprocedures (Bulmer and Burch, 2001).This thesis does not create an alternative theoretical framework of theEuropeanisation. It rather develops already existing theoretical frameworkof Europeanisation and aims at discovering the conditions andmechanisms of Europeanisation under which the process ofEuropeanisation functions.Georgia as a case study was chosen because of several reasons: firstly andbasically, since it is a non-candidate neighbouring country of the EU,secondly, and more importantly, Georgia, as an actor in the Easternneighbourhood of the EU even though it has limited geographical andeconomical proximity with the EU is one among other `front runner¿countries of the Eastern Partnership, and finally, the case of Georgia givesus a possibility to study the process of Europeanisation based on thecritically important domestic political transitions, which occurred in thiscountry.Within the framework of the thesis, author analysis three main transitionalperiods of Georgia¿s political conditions in combination with the policyinstruments of the EU: firstly, the independence of Georgia from theSoviet Union and conclusion of the Partnership and CooperationAgreement with the EU (1991-2003), secondly, the Rose revolution ofGeorgia and introduction of the European Neighbourhood Policy (2003-2008), and thirdly, Russian occupation and upgraded political andeconomic relations between the EU and Georgia in the context of theEastern Partnership, including the new bilateral treaty relations based onthe Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free TradeArea (2008-2015). Diachronic political history of Georgia is assessed as acomparative study of Europeanisation process of this county.Further on, the thesis provides an analysis of the political and economicdevelopments of the Eastern European countries. Aim of this examinationis to develop better understanding of the regional context of Georgia. Theregional context has always been an important factor in the process ofEuropeanisation. In-line with this objective, the thesis provides acomparative analysis of the data collected from the national andinternational data basis.In addition to it, the thesis covers a wide range of public speeches of thepolicy makers, including the EU officials and Georgian political elite, andalso the results of the interviews conducted with experts, representativesof the Non-Governmental Organisations (the NGOs) and politicians. Inthe empirical part of the thesis, Georgian literature regarding theeconomic and democratic developments is also broadly referred to,especially, the publications of Georgian experts of political and economicsciences. As far as the thesis provides the legal understanding of thebilateral and multilateral relations between the EU and Georgia, authoralso examines the decisions of the European Court of Justice, the foundingtreaties of the EU and its policy instruments regarding Georgia and otherEast European countries. Moreover, Georgian legislation in the context ofEuropeanisation is covered withThe broad bulk of theoretical and empirical materials gave the possibilityof multidimensional interpretation of the process of Europeanisation witha specific focus on the case study of Georgia as a non-candidate EasternEuropean county.5. The StructureThe classic structure of this thesis incorporates theoretical as well asempirical parts. The theoretical part of the thesis is presented in its firstchapter and the case study of Georgia is developed in the next threechapters, which all together compose the four main chapters of the thesis.Each chapter has its sections, following the logic of the hypothesisproposed in it.The first chapter conceptualises the Europeanisation as a theoreticalframework of the thesis and aims to define its limits with regard to thenon-candidate Eastern neighbours of the EU. This chapter questions theEuropeanisation and its effectiveness of its mechanisms. Moreover itprovides arguments with regard to its limits. The first section of thischapter analyses the EU as an emerging and important global and regionalactor, in addition to it provides an analysis of political history of EU¿sEastern enlargement. The second section of the first chapter argues interms of substantial understanding of the Europeanisation theory and itsmechanisms. The third section develops the understanding of theEuropeanisation concept beyond the existing theoretical framework andapproaches additional conditions and mechanisms under whichEuropeanisation process functions.The second chapter of the thesis examines the initial bilateral relationsbetween the EU and Georgia, established shortly after the independenceof Georgia from the Soviet Union in 1991. The first section of the chapterdeals with the domestic challenges of Georgia that took place after thedeclaration of its independence. The credibility of the state institutionsimpacted the development of the internal and external policies of Georgia,which is also examined in this section of the chapter. The second sectiondeals with the bilateral relations established between the EU and Georgia¿ the PCA Georgia, as the initial framework of cooperation between theUnion and independent Georgia. This section provides a detailedexamination of the agreement and evaluates its impact on the transitionalperiod of Georgia with regard to its democracy building and transition tothe market economy standards. The third section of the thesis providescritical assessment of the EU-Georgia cooperation framework andprovides arguments on the lack of effectiveness of the cooperationframework. The last section of the second chapter deals with the actornessof Georgia in the context of Europeanisation. This sectionincorporates both the empirical and the theoretical approaches in order toestablish linkage between the arguments of theoretical and empiricalfindings and to provide the results of testing of the theoreticalunderstandings incorporated in the first chapter and in addition to it, toargue regarding the impact of domestic conditions and policies of Georgiain the process of Europeanisation.The third chapter follows the structure of the second chapter and isdivided into empirical and theoretical sections. First section of this chapterexamines the political changes and challenges evolved in Georgia after theRose revolutions of 2003. The second section of the chapter puts forth theanalysis of the ENP as a policy framework introduced by the EU shortlyafter Georgia faced the transition of power through the revolution. Thethird section of the chapter deals with the role of Georgian domesticpolicies in the context of Europeanisation, more precisely the `bottom-up¿impact of Georgian policies on the process of Europeanisation, whichgoes beyond the limited leverage of the EU. This section provides thearguments in terms of actual role of third states and their domesticconditions in the process of Europeanisation.The fourth and final chapter of the thesis examines the process ofEuropeanisation of Georgia in its third transitional period. The firstsection of this chapter deals with political and economic challenges,which occurred in Georgia after the Russian occupation. The secondsection provides an analysis of the upgraded policy instruments of the EUtowards the Eastern countries ¿ the EaP, including the examination of thebilateral agreements of the AA and the DCFTA. Political history anddomestic conditions of Georgia in the time frame of 2008-2015 definesthe context of `bottom-up¿ Europeanisation examined in the third sectionof this chapter.Consequently, the thesis concludes with the impact of the domesticconditions and policies of non-candidate neighbouring states of the EUshould be researched more extensively: in terms of understanding of theEuropeanisation mechanisms beyond the one-side examination of the EUtools towards Eastern countries and evaluation of their effectiveness.Therefore, the thesis provides the analysis, which on one handincorporates the assessment of the EU policies towards its neighbouringcountries and on the other, the policies and thereof role of Georgia in theEuropeanisation process.6. ConclusionsThe thesis argued that non-candidate Eastern European countries arebeyond the effective `top-down¿ implementation mechanisms ofEuropeanisation. Moreover, Georgia experiences limited effect ofleverage in its political history as demonstrated by the thesis. Hence, thethesis implied additional criteria to assess the process of Europeanisationof Georgia.The goal of the theoretical part of the thesis was to conceptualise thesubstantial understanding of Europeanisation, which is applicable to theEastern European countries of the EU without the declared perspective ofmembership. The empirical part of the thesis is providing diachronicanalysis of the transforming and evolving EU-Georgia relations within thedeveloped context of Europeanisation, as proposed in the theoretical part.Within the framework of this thesis, Europeanisation has been analysed inboth rationalist and constructivist perspectives (Checkel, 2001; Jupille,Caporaso and Checkel, 2002; Radaelli, 2004; Börzel, 2010;Schimmelfennig, 2010; Lavenex, 2004, 2008; Risse, 2006). The thesisargues that Europeanisation, eventually, constitutes a process ofinteraction of the EU and a third state policies, hence, it¿s significantlyinfluenced not only by the `one-side¿ mechanisms of Europeanisation, butalso by the additional variables, which are to be examined on the domesticlevels of the EU¿s partner countries.The external Europeanisation constitutes a qualitatively different processfrom the fundamental and primary understanding of Europeanisationinside the borders of the EU. The last experiences of the Europeanenlargement have clearly demonstrated the success of the leverage,however the leverage should be considered as an ineffective mechanismof Europeanisation with respect to the non-candidate Eastern Europeancountries of the EU.The theoretical part aims at opening a discussion on the impact ofdomestic policies of the Eastern European non-candidate countries on theEuropeanisation process. Thus and hereof, defines a criterion for theassessment of domestic variables. This issue is conceptualised as a`bottom-up¿ Europeanisation, which incorporates ¿ pro-Europeanaspirations, historic legacies/reforms and power competition ¿ asadditional influencing factors of Europeanisation.The empirical part of the thesis highlights the significant importance ofinternal political conditions of Georgia and argues that the transitionalperiods of Georgia, together with its domestic political environment,influenced its Europeanisation process. The empirical part of the thesis iscomposed of three chapters: (1) the initial actions vis-á-vis the EU andGeorgia; (2) the second phase of relations: revolution, reforms and theENP; and (3) the third phase of relations: from the security challengestowards upgraded bilateral relations.In the diachronic analysis of political and economic cooperation of actors,on one hand ¿ the EU, and on the other ¿ Georgia, implies a dualistic pathof investigation: firstly, the emergence of the EU as a significantlyimportant actor in its Eastern neighbourhood, as well as the assessment ofits foreign policy instruments, and secondly, the implications andconstraints of the domestic conditions and political environment ofGeorgia in the context of Europeanisation.`Bottom-up¿ impact of Georgia on the initial cooperation between the EUand Georgia was rather limited (1991-2003). The pro-European politicalaspirations of Georgia were demonstrated, however not clearly andconsistently enough. Moreover, the foreign policy making of the countrywas not supported by domestic reforms, and therefore, did not have effecton the Europeanisation process of the country. Power competitionbetween the EU and Russia was also low, due to the unclear positioning ofGeorgia in its international relations, as well as Russia¿s self-confidencein its exclusive influence over the post-Soviet area.In the second transitional period (2003-2008), radical reforming policiesof the government achieved prominent results. International investorsconsidered Georgia as a good place to do business. In addition to this, theeradication of corruption increased flow of the direct foreign investmentsto Georgia. This period was a decisive domestic political `condition¿ thatpromoted Georgia¿s Europeanisation process. Firstly, due to theincreasing pro-European political aspirations of this country, andsecondly, because of the reforms introduced and implemented in thisperiod. It should be noted that in-line with increased interest of Georgiatowards the EU, the power competition increased. Russia was given apossibility to demonstrate its actual foreign policy priorities and means ofachieving them.In its third transitional period, Georgia¿s domestic political conditions(2008-2015), demonstrate increased political aspirations towardsEuropean integration. Even though, this political discourse is not stillconsistently supported by the domestic reforms, Georgia remains stabilityin its European integration process in power competition between the EUand Russia. Notwithstanding the fact that Russia makes systematicattempts to destabilise the countries of its neighbourhood, in particular,those having pro-European aspirations, there exists a national politicalconsensus in Georgia towards Europeanisation process.Georgia experienced a long lasting tradition of political and economictransformation, and still keeps following the path of transition to thedemocratic principles and market economy standards. The politicalestablishment of Georgia, and also the geopolitical position of thiscountry, provoked various scenarios of its role in the region.The case of Georgia explains that external factors are not the only way ofEuropeanisation. In addition to it, disparities of external priorities amongthe Eastern European countries demonstrate increasing importance of therole of third non-candidate countries in the European integration process.The imperialist aims of the Russian Federation aspired towards unificationof post-Soviet area and establishment of the Eurasian Union alsoconstitutes a real shortcoming of this focus area. Number of security andeconomic destabilisations undermines the effective implementation of theEuropean integration agenda of the non-candidate Eastern Europeancountries. The case of Georgia highlights the importance of additionalvariables in the European integration process, where the domestic factorsand conditions create necessary, but not enough ground forEuropeanisation.Although, this thesis hypothesised a criteria of domestic factors ofGeorgia, as additional variables of Europeanisation, there is no doubt thatfurther research is required for comprehensive and comparativeunderstanding of Eastern European countries influence on theirEuropeanisation process. Prospect studies preferably should incorporateadditional methodical approaches, including quantitative and qualitativeresearches. Enhanced and upgraded relations between the EU andGeorgia, provokes number of questions regarding mechanisms of treaty¿simplementation and in this process responsibilities of actors.This research framework may be expanded to other non-candidate Easternneighbouring countries of the EU. For the aim of this thesis, it is essentialto promote additional investigations regarding the domestic factors ofEastern European countries. Domestic conditions and their dynamismrequire consistent assessment and inclusion in the EU¿s foreign policiesand approaches.Consequently, this thesis highlights that even under the limited leverageand strong geopolitical influences, Georgia possessed a meaningfulinfluence on its European integration process, mainly by demonstrating itsconsistent European aspiration. Even though EU¿s idealistic andpragmatic approaches do not usually coincide with each other, Georgiamanages to push European agenda and promote its position in Europeanstructures. Findings of this thesis highlight the importance of domesticpolicies and politics in terms of shaping EU¿s external agenda.