On April 1, 2023, the Heinrich Boell Foundation Tbilisi Office - South Caucasus Region, in collaboration with Mtsvaneebi (Greens Georgia), organized an online discussion entitled "A Green European Perspective for Georgia". The discussion focused on the recent massive street protests in Georgia led by young people and a broad civil society.
Massive street protests in Georgia led by young people and a broad civil society coalition, coupled with international criticism, forced the ruling Georgian Dream party to withdraw ‘foreign agents’ legislation. However, the proposed bill as well as illiberal and anti-European rhetoric make many Georgians worry that the country is moving closer to Russia and its authoritarian model. Other concerns include political and societal polarization and the flourishing of illiberal groups and violence.
Democratization and EU candidacy status are the main goals of Georgia’s pro-European and reform-oriented civil society. Many feel unrepresented by the major political parties and the road to the 2024 parliamentary election is uncertain, although the recent protests could provide momentum for progressive actors.
The discussion aimed to explore how green and feminist forces could advance in the current political arena, what could be a uniting agenda for Georgia's progressives, and what were effective progressive responses to the illiberal challenges in the EU and Georgia.
The discussion featured several speakers, including Viola von Cramon, Member of the European Parliament, Benedetta De Marte, Secretary General of the European Green Party, Nino Lomjaria, Former Public Defender, Sopho Verdzeuli, Judicial researcher and editor at Komentari, Kakha Gogolashvili, Director of EU Studies Center, GFSIS, Mariam Kvaratskhelia, Co-Director, Tbilisi Pride, and Tata Jakeli, Founder of Mtsvaneebi. The Director of the Heinrich Boell Foundation Tbilisi Office – South Caucasus Region, Sonja Schiffers, moderated the discussion.