GEORGIAN-GERMAN STRATEGIC FORUM:
Policy Recommendations and Observations
The second meeting of Georgian-German Strategic Forum took place on May 2-3, 2013, in Tbilisi, Georgia. Various representatives of the security communities of both countries participated in the second meeting including, government officials, parliamentary deputies and the independent experts. During the panel presentations, as well as in the discussions that followed, participants expressed their frank views on the panel topics, provided their assessment of the Forum’s work and the recommendations on the way forward. Participants assessed positively the joint policy recommendations on the topical issues of bilateral cooperation worked within the frames of the Forum and supported their swift implementation.
Following Recommendations and Observations were offered during the Second Meeting of the Georgian-German Strategic Forum:
ON STRATEGIC VIEWS AND MUTUAL INTERESTS
Recommendation 1: Strengthening of bilateral cooperation and more bilateral initiatives aimed at promotion of people-to-people is needed. Further implementation of the democratic reforms in Georgia will contribute to this cooperation and is the best way to speed up country’s integration into EU and NATO.
Recommendation 2: Institutionalization of Forum’s work is needed, as this will increase the efficiency of the bilateral cooperation that takes place within its frames. Forum should provide institutional support for the implementation of recommendations and projects worked out under its aegis.
- Strengthening of stability in the region is a core German interest in South Caucasus. In Germany, Georgia is perceived as key partner in the region. Germany should get involved more actively in the conflict resolution process.
- Georgia’s engagement in EU operations is highly desirable. Georgia should continue to plan for EU Mali mission.
- For optimal development of bilateral relations it is necessary to identify the cooperation areas where interests of both countries overlap in the South Caucasus.
ON REGIONAL SECURITY, CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND EURO ATLANTIC INTEGRATION
Recommendation 3: The official consultations should start for planning the further steps in bilateral cooperation, including the discussion of next stage of NATO integration.
- While continuing strong allied support for Georgia’s territorial integrity, in case of Georgia’s eventual membership into NATO the diplomatic and legal arrangements can be elaborated to consider the application of article 5 to the occupied territories.
- One of the priorities should be decreasing the chances of restarting the conflicts in Georgia. Apart from Geneva Format, it is needed to establish direct, bilateral channels of contact. Germany jointly with Georgia should also make full use of Georgia’s potential for conflict resolution in Karabakh region.
- Changes in alarmist rhetoric by Georgia are creating a very fertile ground for strengthening bilateral cooperation. One of the good ways to incentivize the democratization in the region is to grant Georgia MAP during the next NATO Summit and thus make clear that democratization will be both, supported and rewarded.
ON GEORGIAN REFORMS AND GERMAN CONTRIBUTION TO THEM
Recommendation 4: Center dealing with the issues of Security Policy of Germany and the EU is being founded in Tbilisi Javakhishvili State University and it will be beneficial to create its counterpart center/chair at German university that will deal with the issues of Security Policy of Georgia and the Caucasus.
Recommendation 5: Carrying out of research on lessons learned from more the two decades of Georgia-German bilateral cooperation experience since Georgia’s independence will be very useful for optimizing the bilateral relations
- Forum should discuss local government independence/decentralization in Georgia and facilitate valuable, German experience sharing in this respect; Georgia should further continue reforms to strengthen democratic institutions, checks and balances, rule of law.
- Establishment of Georgian-German Chamber of Commerce will facilitate the closer ties between the business circles of two countries. There is a huge potential in promotion of business-to-business contacts between Georgia and Germany.
ON FORUM’S FUTURE WORK AND PERSPECTIVES OF STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
Recommendation 6: Conduction of the joint research on topical issues of bilateral cooperation would be beneficial, as well as establishing the channel for regular exchange of analytical material written in Germany on Georgia and South Caucasus and the other way around.
Recommendation 7: Institutionalization of the Forum is needed and the creation of the working groups to support its work. Conduction of one of the Forum’s meetings in Germany will further facilitate raising its profile and enhancing the bilateral relations.
Recommendation 8: Joint advocacy of the implementation of previously elaborated recommendations is needed, and inclusion of business circles in Forum’s work will be beneficial in this respect as well. One panel of the next Forum Meeting should be dedicated to business issues.
- Sending Georgian military units for participation in the international peacekeeping operations within German contingent will contribute to both, security and bilateral cooperation enhancement; and these signals for such readiness from Georgia should be sent to Brussels and Berlin.
- It is advisable to address the appropriate department of one of the German universities (preferably in Berlin or near Berlin) for establishment the chair on the issues as suggested in the joint recommendations worked out within the Forum’s frames.
- Drafting the Master Plan for Forum’s future work will help the so much needed institutionalization of the Forum. The Black Sea and South Caucasus regional issues should be included in Forum’s discussion topics.