On 31 January, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee and the Coordination Council of the National Platform of Georgia released a statement strongly condemning the smear campaign against the local Georgian civil society experts who contributed to the EaP CSF’s Eastern Partnership Index 2023 edition.
The Eastern Partnership (EaP) Index 2023 edition was released on 24 January 2024. It assesses the state of democratic reforms in each EaP country and their level of approximation with the European Union (EU), and provides recommendations. According to the study, Georgia’s performance was characterised by a “significant downwards drift, if not a sharp plunge in many areas which reflects the country’s political polarisation”.
In the statement, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee and the Coordination Council of the National Platform of Georgia said they were appalled by the defamation campaign carried out by the affiliated media of the ruling coalition member party (‘People’s Power’ movement) against local Georgian civil society experts who contributed to the EaP Index 2023 edition. Both organisations also consider the recent statements made by individual members of the ruling party (Georgian Dream) against the civil society experts dangerous.
“Attempts to discredit civil society, diminish our watchdog role, and portray activists as ‘enemies’ of the country contradict the constitutional values of Georgia and its commitments towards European integration,” the statement said. “A thriving enabling environment for civil society remains the backbone of any healthy democracy and country with EU accession aspirations.”
The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Steering Committee and the Coordination Council of the National Platform of Georgia urged all the perpetrators to cease their defamatory actions against civil society in general, and EaP Index experts in particular.
They also called on the Georgian government to take into account in its work the assessments and policy recommendations provided by civil society on Georgia’s rapprochement with the EU.
“Resorting to intimidation, hate speech, and slander to marginalise and diminish the impact of our work towards democratisation, including the important monitoring work done by our EaP Index experts, contradicts our country’s aspirations for becoming a full-fledged member of the EU,” said Natia Kuprashvili, EaP CSF National Facilitator, Georgia. “This is why we call on our government to embrace open dialogue with civil society and respect our diverse perspectives.”
Find out more
More campaign pages:
Interested in the latest news and opportunities?
This website is managed by the EU-funded Regional Communication Programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood ('EU NEIGHBOURS east’), which complements and supports the communication of the Delegations of the European Union in the Eastern partner countries, and works under the guidance of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the European External Action Service. EU NEIGHBOURS east is implemented by a GOPA PACE-led consortium. It is part of the larger Neighbourhood Communication Programme (2020-2024) for the EU's Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, which also includes 'EU NEIGHBOURS south’ project that runs the EU Neighbours portal.